Did you know that the root of the Hebrew word for 'Jew' (Yehudi ) means 'to thank' (lehodot )? To be Jewish, therefore, is to be grateful. In the Uni
'Todah' - Thank you.
Did you know that the root of the Hebrew word for 'Jew' (Yehudi ) means 'to thank' (lehodot )?
To be Jewish, therefore, is to be grateful. In the United States of America today, Jews can be especially grateful for the immeasurable freedoms and opportunities for success we have.
Yet these same freedoms are the reason our community dedicates tremendous resources to keeping young Jews connected and engaged.
For the vast majority of young Jews, college is the first time they are making choices on their own - choices that will set the patterns for their adult lives. Amid the panoply of compelling activities that compete for their time, Hillel is here to make sure they make Jewish choices.
When I visited Emory for the first time, I sat down with the Hillel program director to learn about Jewish life at Emory. I knew I wanted to maintain my Judaism in college and wanted to make sure that I would be able to do that at Emory. Within a few minutes of talking to her, it became evident that Emory was not just a place I could go to maintain my Judaism, but also a place I could cultivate and grow my Jewish connection. This short meeting was a big part of why I decided – that very day – that Emory was the place for me.
It’s amazing how small things like this can mak all the difference – an encounter and conversation that helped set me on a meaningful path. Over the past two years, I have seen how Hillel at Emory harnesses the power of “small things” to inspire hugely meaningful Jewish experiences.
My Jewish journey at Emory started with the Hillel whitewater rafting trip. I bonded with the students who have since become my best friends. I also got the opportunity to meet and learn from student leaders in Hillel. I wanted to be part of that welcoming, warm community. I wanted to help Hillel reach out to other students like me so that the Emory Jewish community could continue to thrive.
I am proud to now be in a position of leadership to help set the vision for Jewish life at Emory and ensure that every student feels as welcomed and as valued as I have felt. This has been an exceptional year so far.
▪ Our FYSH program, which matches freshmen with older student mentors, has more than 90 “Little FYSH” and 50 “Big FYSH” this year – a record number.
▪ At the first Shabbat dinner of the semester, we had 200 students! (We only expected 120, by the way, but by some miracle we didn’t run out of food.) More than 100 participated in our three student-led Shabbat services that night, and we continue to have multiple services weekly.
▪ High Holiday services saw a combined total of 1,755 participants – students, faculty and local community members – at our Reform, Conservative and Orthodox services. For Rosh Hashanah dinner, we hosted 140 students!
▪ A highlight of this semester was Harvest Fest -- an evening of music and entertainment by student performers to celebrate the harvest festival of Sukkot, a time also known as zman simchateinu, a time of rejoicing.
▪ Our Tritt & Oppenheimer JHealth Leadership Fellows led a campaign this semester called "Spread the Word to End the Word" to help end the stigma against people with intellectual disabilities. They had over 200 people sign a pledge to stop using the derogatory word 'retarded' and featured a guest speaker who told his story of growing up as a Jew with Tourette’s Syndrome.
There is tremendous variety in Hillel’s programming. There really is something for everyone, because we recognize that every individual connects differently. The relationships that students have with each other and with our Hillel staff are what make our community so strong. It’s those “small things” that will last well beyond our time at Emory.
The spirit of community that Hillel creates for the 2,000 Jewish students at Emory is unparalleled. Hillel is able to connect with more than 60% of all Jewish students at Emory during the year.
The Marcus Hillel Center is a center from which Jewish life emanates onto campus. Hillel reaches far beyond our physical location to engage Jewish students wherever they are on campus. Our Shabbat2Go and Seder2Go programs, for example, allow students to host small Shabbat and Passover meals in student apartments and residence halls. Our innovative programming has made Hillel a vital part of the Emory community.
One hundred percent of your contribution directly funds compelling Hillel programs, our talented Hillel staff, and our fabulous Hillel facility. Your financial support today will make it possible for Jewish Emory students to experience the joy of Judaism, to feel a deep sense of community on campus, and to grow as ethically engaged leaders in the world.