2012 Hillel Newsletter

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2012 Hillel Newsletter
University of Michigan Hillel Newsletter
Mandell L. Berman Center • University of Michigan Hillel • 1429 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(phone) 734.769.0500 • (fax) 734.769.1934 • www.umhillel.org
Hillel Welcomes New Executive Director, Tilly Shames
By Lauren Kobrick & Jordan Korn
A
s I’m sure most of you know, Hillel has welcomed
a new Executive Director this year. Although Hillel’s
beloved previous Executive Director, Michael Brooks,
left some big shoes to fill, Tilly’s response has been “I’m ready
to bring my heels to this party!” As excited as she is to be
starting out in her new role, our Hillel is even more excited and
proud to have Tilly Shames leading the way into the future.
This new role allows me to see
all we have done, but also to see
our greater potential...
Tilly was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, bringing her
Canadian accent (ask her to say “process”) and a love for
Tim Horton’s coffee, which she says is her “favourite” (pronounced with a ‘U’) to Michigan. She studied at York University in Toronto and received her undergraduate B.A. in
Environmental Studies and Political Science. She earned a
master’s degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in
Ottawa, Canada. After college, she studied water issues at
Ben Gurion University in Israel and then worked for the United National Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. You
might think that Tilly’s academic interests would make her an
unlikely candidate for a Jewish professional career. However,
her experiences during her undergraduate career and after
set her on a different path from global environmental politics.
As a student, Tilly had no interest in getting involved in Hillel.
One night during her third year of college, one of her friends
invited her to a Tu B’Shvat seder (an environmental Jewish
holiday). As an environmental student who had just returned
from a leadership mission to Israel, she couldn’t think of an
excuse not to go. At the event, she was greeted so warmly by the Hillel professional, Pearl Gropper, that it had an
impact on her and opened her eyes to the positive effect a
2 • University of Michigan Hillel
on external relations. This allowed her to focus on building
relationships and developing new partnerships on campus
through initiatives like Holocaust and Genocide Awareness
Week.
Tilly and Meirav Cafri (‘14) taking advantage of Tilly’s whiteboard
wall to brainstorm events for the upcoming school year.
After five years of working with Hillel in Toronto, Tilly came to
the University of Michigan Hillel in 2008 as the Berman Fellow. “I really wanted to focus on bringing a sense of vision
and mission to our goals and to our programming,” says
Tilly. After a year as Berman Fellow, she became Associate Director and continued to work with the students and
program staff at U-M Hillel to set and implement strategic
goals. Students now post these goals on Hillel’s walls as
well as on the website each year. The goals are included in
Hillel’s allocation process and have become what drives the
students’ programming forward.
Hillel professional could have on students by being engaging and welcoming. She developed a friendship with Pearl,
and ended up creating Jewish environmental programming
for herself and her other unengaged Jewish friends who
were in environmental studies. Tilly was able to intertwine
her passion for environmental studies with her new interest
in Israel and Jewish environmental ethics. It also helped the
Hillel move beyond the traditional students it was reaching
to students with other interests on campus.
While she did a fantastic job as Associate Director, Tilly says
she is “thrilled to be seeing the organization through new eyes
After graduation, while working at the United Nations, Tilly as the Executive Director.” She says, “I’ve inherited a Hillel
witnessed a lot of anti-Israel sentiment, even in the Environ- with great bones, a great foundation, and long-standing repument Programme. She said, “Even though I probably went tation. This new role allows me to see all we have done, but
to synagogue more regularly in Nairobi than I ever had in my also to see our greater potential and set our vision for the
life, I just didn’t feel I could comfortably be myself as a Jew future.” Tilly plans to do a lot more than simply maintain the
and Zionist in the UN in Nairobi.” She returned to Toronto and reputation that was left for Hillel. She thinks it is extremely
soon was asked to join the Hillel of Greater Toronto team to important that the staff and students of Hillel are constantsupport Jewish students facing a challenging Israel climate ly evaluating who they are now and how they can strive to
on campus. After several years of working with a team to de- make the Hillel even better. She emphasizes the innovation
velop Hillel’s positive, pro-active, pluralistic approach to Is- and creativity that can be brought to the organization by berael advocacy, she became Associate Director and focused ing entrepreneurs and “incubating the next big Jewish idea.”
She is very excited about being able to use the goals, visions, and
mission of the entire organization as the compass that drives Hillel
forward.
Already we have seen her leadership help shape new initiatives. First is the Jewish Detroit Initiative, one of Hillel’s new
Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB) for 2012. Tilly was involved in
helping the group build a relationship with Detroit long before
Spring Break. She finds this to be a very important expression
of Tikun Olam, repairing the world. It is very easy to get stuck
in the bubble of Ann Arbor, but Tilly is pushing Hillel to think
more broadly. This broader vision is also reflected in the national Meet and Greets for incoming freshmen and the national
fundraising events U-M Hillel has implemented this past year.
“We are bursting at the seams in Ann Arbor and our community
has become a national community.”
Tilly is excited for what lies ahead. “I’m really blessed to work
with such an extraordinary team that is extremely creative and
innovative and very supportive of our students and all of our organizations,” she says. She adds how lucky she feels to be part
of the University of Michigan Hillel which has such a strong sense
of community and leadership all across campus. She plans to
continue to focus on “building leadership and community driven
by Jewish values” and striving to find more ways to make our
Hillel the best it can possibly be. We look forward to seeing the
amazing plans she has for Hillel in the years to come.
Lauren Kobrick (’14) is in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
She is from Roslyn, New York. Jordan Korn (’14) is in the College of
LS&A. She is from Westport, Connecticut.
From the Whiteboard of Tilly Shames
n reading the articles in this year’s newsletter, I find
myself balancing the pride and humility that I feel
every day directing our Hillel. I can’t help but feel
proud. In looking at all that we have accomplished this
year alone, from developing new groups like Outdoor
Adventure and MEDx, new engagement initiatives like
Know Your Neighbor and the Hillel App, and new leaders through our Jack and Barbara Berman Leadership
Series, I am amazed at all that we have been able to
achieve in the short academic year.
I
community of support—all rely on one another to
make this Hillel the success that it is.
I have been asked many times since January how
I feel taking on this administrative role in our Hillel.
The question implies that I am arms-length away
from the programming, which is mostly true and
that has been the biggest adjustment for me. But
in this new position, I get to live in a space of gratitude every day. I can stand at the front of our Hillel welcoming hundreds of students into our space
every Friday night. I can stand at the back of the
room appreciating our staff and student leaders for
a successful event, pointing out all of the positives
around the room. I can write notes of appreciation
on thank you letters to share how much your gifts
mean to our organization and our students. And
I can call parents to thank them for sharing their
student with us for a short time. Being in this role
allows me to be proud of what we do every day,
and yet recognize all of the components that make
Every year we want to stand on the rooftops and share
this Hillel the success that it is.
our stories through this newsletter and other media and
events. And yet that pride is always balanced with the
When you read these stories, you will hear stuhumility of what it takes to achieve such great heights.
dent voices explain how they became engaged,
Nothing is accomplished in a silo or by any one indiinvolved, and enriched by our Hillel. It could be an
vidual in our Hillel. We have developed something
interaction with one student that made them feel
unique in our Hillel: a true partnership. This is a Hillel
welcome, or the support and guidance of a staff
driven by student leadership, student innovation, and
person who encouraged them to try something
student passion. We hire strong professionals (several
new, or the opportunity to be in Israel the first time,
of whom you will meet in these pages) who know how
or our amazing gourmet chef’s cooking. One thing
to develop leadership among others and build them up
I know for certain is that all of it is a result of the
for success so that they can cheer from the sidelines
triad of partnership we have created among our
rather than take in the spotlight. And we have a donor
students, staff and community of support, and all I
community of parents, alumni, trustees, and supportive
can say is thank you.
friends, who share in our pride and support our efforts,
whether they live down the street or thousands of miles
away. Each one of us—students, professionals, and our
We have developed something
unique in our Hillel: a true
partnership. This is a Hillel driven
by student leadership, student
innovation, and student passion.
www.umhillel.org • 3
a Retrospective
By Victoria Senter
The founding editors of Consider enjoy the Purim festivities
dressed as Consider and the rare opportunity to be in a picture
with Michael Brooks. From left to right: Brian Sher (’84) (husband
of Tamara Sher (’84), a U-M Hillel Board of Trustee member, and
a partner of the law firm Bryan Cave in Chicago), Michael Brooks
(Chicken in Residence), Jeff Spinner-Halev (’84), (Kenan Eminent
Professor of Political Ethics at the University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill), Scott Winkelman (’84) (husband of Noreen
Winkelman (’86), father of Alex Winkelman (’12) and Jay
Winkelman (’15), and partner of the law firm Crowell Moring
in Washington, D.C.).
4 • University of Michigan Hillel
I
n 1972, Michael Brooks came to the
University of Michigan for a degree in
Greek social history. However, a sequence of events took him beyond
merely earning the degree and launched
Michael into his lifetime passion of revitalizing Hillel. In the past 30 years,
Michael, who was until 2012 the Executive Director of Hillel, transformed
the University of Michigan Hillel from a
small organization to one of the country’s largest, most well-run and model
Hillels.
Michael, who studied at Brandeis and
Harvard, came to Michigan when the
organization was truly bare-boned. At
the time he arrived, there were only a
few student groups sponsored by Hillel: the Orthodox minyan, the Conference on the Holocaust, a kosher coop, and Israeli dancing along with a
few other groups. Now, over 30 years later, the University
of Michigan Hillel is not only one of the largest in the nation,
but it also boasts over 55 student groups. U-M Hillel has
made Michigan a top choice for Jewish students who are
seeking a thriving, active, and welcoming Jewish presence
on campus.
Michael’s accomplishments in the growth and development of Hillel’s programming and infrastructure pale in comparison to the impact he has had on countless students’
lives. Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove (’93), a University of Michigan
alum and devout Michael fan, describes Michael with great
admiration: “Michael is a beautiful human being, a dear
friend, and my teacher. As I’ve become a Rabbi of a large
synagogue, my admiration has only increased for Michael,
seeing the way he has built U-M Hillel.” Rabbi Cosgrove
explains: “His gift is his ability to mentor people, to take
His gift is his ability to mentor people,
to take young up-and-coming
students at critical stages of their
lives to help them grow into someone
they didn’t know they could be.
young up-and-coming students at critical stages of their
lives to help them grow into someone they didn’t know they
could be.” Rabbi Cosgrove explains that without Michael’s
mentorship, he wouldn’t be where he is today. “He saw the
diamonds in the rough.” says Rabbi Cosgrove. “He believed
in us and our potential.” Rabbi Cosgrove not only took guidance and mentorship from Michael, but also played racquetIn addition to making Hillel an organization where Jewish ball with him (one of Michael’s favorite ways to engage with
students are able to get in touch with their Judaism, Mi- students). In the early 1990s, when Rabbi Cosgrove was a
chael has also made Hillel a place where students can feel student, he remembers Michael honking his horn outside
at home, providing students with ceaseless guidance and his door, letting him know that it was time for them to play
solace through some of their toughest, most pressing years. racquetball at the CCRB. From there, the friendship began.
Michael’s ability to genuinely listen to the Jewish students’
wants and needs has enabled him to create the monumental Another student influenced by Michael is Michigan alum
Hillel that stands today.
Kevin Berman (’01), who met Michael during his freshman
year. Every other month throughout Kevin’s college career,
he and Michael would get together for breakfast. To Kevin,
First Year Students of Hillel
By Emily Lisner
Michael’s gift was “teaching and empowering students to
make a difference, to give a little bit of guidance to make
something really big.” Kevin was chair of the Governing
Board when he was a student and he continues to serve
Hillel on the Board of Trustees.
Bill Berman, for whom the gorgeous Hillel building which
opened in 1988 is named, has known Michael since 1968.
Bill describes him as “the highest profile Hillel leader in
America and the model of what a Hillel director should be.”
Furthermore, Bill explains that Michael is, “a natural. He is
always doing something to touch the lives of young people,
he has a mission to reach out to Jewish students and make
them feel better about themselves.”
Working directly with Michael at Hillel is also a joy. Diane
Redman Pfahler, the current Director of Operations, has
been working at Hillel alongside Michael for 18 years. When
discussing her fondness and admiration for Michael, she describes a scene that happened a few years ago at a Shabbat, where students stacked a bunch of garbage cans and
plates in a typical college student prank. Michael, seeing
the mess that the students had made, did not relegate the
task to one of the other members of the Hillel staff. Instead,
Michael took the duty upon himself, going on his hands
and knees to clean it up. Diane, tearing up as she tells the
anecdote, explains how this is just one of many moments
where Michael has shown what a caring, down-to-earth,
and thoughtful person he is.
Everyone who is lucky enough to have met Michael Brooks
can say they’ve been touched by his presence, warmth, and
generosity of spirit. Michael has not only transformed the
U-M Hillel into the well-run organization that it is today, but
also directly impacted thousands of students’ lives, leaving
a mark on Michigan alums all around the globe!
Victoria Senter (’13) is majoring in English.
She is from Mamaroneck, New York.
The board of FYSH welcoming everyone to U-M Hillel. From left to right: Sarah Strickberger (‘15),
Shira Barron (‘15), Jordana Suldan (‘15), Rebecca Scharf (‘15), Atara Lakritz (‘15), Emily Steinberg (‘15),
Elana Graf (‘15), Alexandra Kaplan (‘15), Adam Tannenbaum (‘15), Alex Broome (‘15). Not pictured are
Jessica Borison (‘15), Josh Belinky (‘15), Josh Bernard (‘15), Jordan Zecher (‘15), and Paul Feingold (‘15).
or many freshmen students, their first year can be
challenging as they struggle to adjust to life in
college. Often students seek to be a part of a
strong Jewish community at the University of Michigan,
an important factor for many in choosing Michigan. First
Year Students of Hillel (FYSH) helps students feel at home
and find a welcoming Jewish community at Michigan.
F
FYSH is a great opportunity
for first year students to find their
niche at Michigan, Hillel, and the
Jewish culture as a whole.
Hillel, and others who do not, engaging Jewish freshmen
in all that Hillel has to offer.
A viewing party for the OSU vs. Michigan basketball
game was one of FYSH’s most successful events this
year. Pride for Michigan basketball and love of the Wolverines brought students together. Another program that
was a great success was “Shabbat in the Dorms,” held
over two different Friday nights in five different residence
halls. When students see a Shabbat dinner being held in
their own residence hall, they see Jewish culture brought
right into their lives. And by bringing Shabbat to freshmen,
students start to find their place in the Jewish community
at the beginning of their college experience.
With fresh ideas, great events and enthusiastic new leaders, FYSH will continue to welcome and comfort those
“FYSH is a great opportunity for first year students to looking for a Jewish community on campus.
find their niche at Michigan, Hillel, and the Jewish community as a whole,” says Sarah Strickberger (’15), one of Emily Lisner (’15) is a Communications major.
the group’s leaders. FYSH is able to reach out to a wide She is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
variety of students—some who already have a home in
www.umhillel.org • 5
Marc Rivera challenging Hayley Sakwa (’14) as Elana Graf (’15) cheers on.
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his past spring break, I took part in the Jewish-Detroit
Initiative, Hillel’s first alternative spring break to
Detroit, and I cannot rave enough about it! The
goal of our trip was to create sustainable connections
to the city and its residents through meaningful community
service and dialogue. I came away from the trip having so
many more questions about the city—about its positives
and its negatives—but most definitely with a connection
to Detroit that I never had the opportunity to create before.
T
As many of the other participants on the trip, I am Detroit
born. Although I grew up in the suburbs, I had minimal connection to the city. To quote one of my peers, the city felt
almost “taboo” in that it was a city that was once great but
is now unsafe, has little to offer, and is better left avoided.
My involvement in the city was spurred not quite by a desire
to form this connection, but by the endless opportunities for
community action and social change within the city. After
the week spent in the city, I am inspired by the Detroit residents who are actively working towards change in the city.
Moreover, I am inspired by the network of young, vibrant,
6 • University of Michigan Hillel
By Hayley Sakwa
I am excited to sustain these
relationships, continue these
conversations, and learn more about
Detroit and community change
through the continuation of
Jewish-Detroit Initiative—which is
now an official Hillel group!
Jewish social entrepreneurs who are joining these community organizers in their efforts to revitalize Detroit.
Meeting many of these individuals and learning from their
experiences was only a tiny part of the trip. The majority of
our time was spent working with students from Earhart Elementary Middle School in Southwest Detroit. In the mornings, we acted as an extra set of hands in K through 5 classrooms—something every teacher, in every district and city,
needs and deserves. Through this experience, we learned a
lot about the struggles within Detroit education and education as a whole, and we got to know amazing teachers and
unbelievably cute kids!
At the end of each school day, we met with a group of
Earhart eighth graders and walked to Latino Mission Society (LMS), a church in the area. Together we renovated a
century-old bowling alley in the basement of LMS. After a
week spent painting, cleaning, assembling foosball tables,
and goofing off, we had created a youth space for kids in
the area to go after school. One of the best parts of this
project was the chance to get to know the Earhart students.
We traded music and movie tastes, heard about their goals,
and more. Not everything we learned was light and fluffy—
we spoke quite a bit about the presence of gangs in South-
Hayley Sakwa (’14) and Eli
Newman (’13) with some of
their new friends from Earhart
Elementary Middle School.
A sketch of the Jewish Detroit Initiative team on display at the Latino Mission Society.
west Detroit. It often frustrated me to hear that something meaningful to the community and I am
violence was a serious part of these young kids’ proud to have been a part of it.
lives; however to them it is simply a reality.
Furthermore, I am excited to sustain these reFrom these conversations, my perspective on lationships, continue these conversations, and
community action began to shift. Rather than learn more about Detroit and community change
fixating on the negative issues in a community, I through the continuation of Jewish-Detroit Initialearned that organizing is instead about harness- tive (which is now an official Hillel group). And yes,
ing the positive qualities of a neighborhood. For here comes the plug: If this sounds like something
example, it seems to me that the same sense of you or someone you know might be interested in,
loyalty and family unity that might fuel gang in- or would in any way like to make a connection
volvement, could also fuel an investment in com- to the city of Detroit, please contact me (Hayley
munity involvement. While I do not think that the Sakwa [email protected]) to get involved!
youth center we created at LMS will solve all of
the neighborhood problems, I do think it allows Hayley Sakwa (’14) is in the field of
kids to make good choices, like the Earhart kids Organizational Studies. She is from
who decided to come to the bowling alley for ice West Bloomfield, Michigan.
cream sundaes instead of going to a fight after
school. To me, this was a project that offered
Earhart students, Aalieya Jarrells, Rousfiel Rodriguez and Marc Rivera take
advantage of the bowling alley JDI helped build as Eli Newman (’13) gets
ready to take his turn.
www.umhillel.org • 7
Exciting Interpretations of Living Jewish Life:
By Brandon Shaw
Tu B’Shevat
wo major holidays celebrations were revamped Avery Robinson (’12), one of the organizers, said he considwith new components this year: Tu B’Shevat and ered the event a success. Avery added, “what set this seder
Purim.
apart from most other seders, here and across the country,
were the engaging and dynamic speakers.” Robinson said
that among those who spoke at the event were a farmer, a
pickler, a convenience store fresh food supplier, and over
fifty students. One speaker was a Michigan graduate named
Nate Lada (’08), who founded and manages Green Things
Farm and CSA (community-supported agriculture) in Ann
Arbor. He spoke about his journey from Hebrew Day School
to today and how Jewish texts have helped shape his farming journey. His discussion was focused on the importance
of agriculture and respecting the Earth as central to the
A Tu B’Shevat seder was held this year with a dinner event
Jewish tradition. “Winter is an important season for farmers
focusing on environmental activism. Held in the Dana Buildbecause this is when the harvests are planned,” Nate said,
ing of Natural Resources and the Environment, the dinner
prompting the students to raise their glasses of white grape
was a way to incorporate environmental conservation edujuice to the bounty that is not yet here.
cation with a holiday that celebrates nature and the trees—
specifically, the “birthday of the trees.” Students brought
After Nate shared his story, Noam Kimelman, also a Michitheir own vegetarian dishes to add to the kosher dishes progan alumnus (’09, ’11), introduced the group to his initiative,
vided by Hillel, in a potluck-themed dinner called Yerakot
Fresh Corner Café, which serves and caters healthy “grab
which can translate as greens or vegetables. The dinner was
and go” meals made from fresh high-quality ingredients.
titled for its reference to both trees representing the holiday
While an undergraduate student at Michigan, Noam started
and to its symbolism of the environment. According to Hilthis company that brought fresh produce to convenience
lel’s Assistant Director, Rabbi Seth Winberg, the event was
stores throughout the city of Detroit, enabling residents to
a way of engaging several different audiences and bringing
access fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables. Noam wove
people together through both enjoyment and education of
the environmental justice mission of Tu B’Shevat into the
an important Jewish holiday.
fabric of social and food justice. Noam was followed by Blair
T
He spoke about his journey from
Hebrew Day School to today and
how Jewish texts have helped
shape his farming journey.
8 • University of Michigan Hillel
Nosan, another Michigan alumnae (’08), and Lead Pickler
of Suddenly Sauer, who shared her approach to environmentalism through food preservation, like pickling and
fermentation.
Spring, the season of growth and new beginnings, brought
out the slightly rosé grape juices for the second Kiddush.
According to Robinson, “between the discussions, (we ate)
the seven-species salad, and various other seasonal dishes.
Everyone was treated to a nourishing evening.” He also
noted that “rather than leave this as just one great event,
follow-up conversations are being planned to continue to
engage and motivate this learning.”
nother holiday this year, Purim, also brought many
students out to a Megillah reading on Erev Purim,
as well as a concert featuring Israeli hip-hop group
Hadag Nahash. Hillel provided transportation from the megillah reading to the Blind Pig, the Downtown Ann Arbor
club where the concert was held with the popular hip-hop
group, who were on their United States tour. Hillel student
group American Movement for Israel (AMI) sponsored the
event, and was responsible for the planning and setup of
the club activities. “Who’s excited for Hadag Nahash?!”
AMI Chair Alyssa Adler (’14) asked the packed crowd, to
a rousing response of cheers and excitement, with Hillel
students dressed in a variety of Purim costumes.
A
Purim
With the club packed to its capacity of 400 and the lights
dimmed low everywhere but on stage where bright lights lit
up the six-piece band, the band played some of their most
popular songs, such as “Ha Mechona Shel Ha Groove” and
“Lazuz.” The band, which included everyone from a trumpet player to two rappers, gave students an opportunity to
dance, sing, and enjoy themselves through both common
English chants and Hebrew choruses, with their fists held an “energetic and innovative way to bring people
high in the air to celebrate Israel, their faith, and the sense of together for the holiday,” Rosen said. “Hadag Nacommunity felt strongly in the room.
hash brought a lot of energy and weaved together
fun and funky music.”
Davey Rosen, Tilly Shames,
Allie
A Conn, and Michael
Spitulnik (some of the Hillel
staff)
enjoy the Hadag
s
Nahash concert in costume.
Purim also brought new and recurring
faces to the table with a Megillah
reading on Erev Purim, as well as a
concert featuring Israeli hip-hop
group Hadag Nahash.
Purim day also brought new opportunities to engage Hillel frequenters and new students alike.
With different locations for Megillah readings in
the morning, including a Women’s Megillah Reading organized by Shoshi Lockshin (wife of Rabbi
Seth Winberg), and two different daytime lunch
festivities, many students continued to celebrate
the holiday and share what Purim means to them.
Both of these holidays laid a solid framework for a
Davey Rosen, Hillel’s Assistant Director of Student Leader- tradition of engagement and broadening outreach
ship and Programming, said that this new way of celebrating to new Hillel students, a tradition Hillel has always
the holiday is a tradition he saw as well-embraced by the upheld and continues to strive for with each new
community. He thought there was “a lot of excitement for and innovative celebration.
the show” and there was a big crowd from the moment the
doors opened. The band and subsequent festivities were all Brandon Shaw (’14) is majoring in Political
Shira Sandler (’13), Jessica Curhan (’13), Alyssa Adler (’14),
Melissa Rosenbaum (’14), and Becca Millman (’15), with
Hadag Nahash vocalist Shaa’nan Streett.
Communications and Marketing. He is from
Los Angeles, California.
www.umhillel.org • 9
Jewish Students Go Into the Wild
By Atara Lakritz
un, friendships, and the great outdoors...what could
be a better combination? The answer is the Hillel
Outdoor Adventure group! This group was created
by siblings Teddie (‘12) and Max (‘15) Olender to provide an
outlet for Jewish students to enjoy the outdoors together.
Being adventure-lovers themselves, it was a no-brainer for
the Olender team to reach out to their fellow students while
exploring the great outdoors.
F
After participating in an outdoor
adventure, our members leave
enthusiastic about their experience
with our Hillel group and excited
for the next adventure.
connect to.” That stems from the Jewish connection he
found with Outdoor Adventure, he says.
The Jewish principle of bal tashchit, meaning “do not destroy,” is the guiding value for Jewish environmentalism and
living sustainably. Hillel’s Outdoor Adventure group has fostered a greater appreciation for our natural surroundings by
following this principle. “As Jews, it is important that we add
to the goodness of the earth, rather than take away from
the natural world,“ says Davey Rosen, U-M Hillel’s Assistant
Director and staff advisor for Hillel Outdoors.
The newly created group also strives to involve those who
are not already involved with Hillel. They believe bonding
over the outdoors is the perfect way to integrate both Hillel regulars and those who are not already involved in Hillel.
“After participating in an outdoor adventure, our members
leave enthusiastic about their experience with our Hillel
group and excited for the next adventure,” say Teddie and
Max. “Going on adventures outdoors together can lead to a
At the beginning of the year, the Hillel Outdoor Adventure stronger and larger Hillel community, as friends and relationgroup’s kickoff event included a weekend camp-out at Silver ships are built during our time together.”
Lake State Park. Seven adventurers hiked an impressive six
miles into the November sunset and enjoyed a hot dog din- The group closed out the year with a cookout in Hillel’s lobner, cooked outside, of course. The group roasted marsh- by to kick off 24/7 Study Hours. During study breaks, dilimallows and finished the night with some board games be- gent students enjoyed a hot dog—or veggie dog—or two,
fore settling in to rustic bunk beds in their rented camping chatted with friends new and old, and enjoyed themselves
despite the downpour outside.
cabin.
Jake Steinerman (‘12), who hiked and noshed at Pinckney
State Park, says, “It’s a good way to get some exercise and
fresh air, and to hang out with other Jewish students.” Similarly, Adam Tannenbaum (‘15), who joined the skiing and
snowboarding outing, says he liked having fun while being
around people he “felt safe and comfortable with and could
10 • University of Michigan Hillel
Though his sister Teddie graduated this spring, Max is excited about new possibilities for next year. He’s planning a
canoe trip on the Huron River next fall, and more camping,
hiking and skiing fun.
Atara Lakritz (’14) is majoring in International Studies. She is from
West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Max Olender (’15), Jake Steinerman (’12), Danny Altkorn
(’14) and Daphne Porat (’15) take in the beautiful scenery
at Pinckney State Recreation Area
Justin Hayworth (’13), Max Olender (’15), Daphne Porat
(’15), and Jon Rubins (’13) enjoy the Outdoor Adventure
Club sponsored ski trip at Mt. Brighton Ski Resort.
Hillel Gets
Technologically
Savvy
By Andrew Shapiro
ewish students now have a different, more
technologically focused way to connect to
the Jewish community on campus than in the past.
Students are now updating U-M Hillel’s communication with
innovations such as apps and “Hillel Highlights” videos to
keep Hillel current. The implementation of newer technology
is making interactions more engaging and meaningful.
J
Through the app students will
be able to reserve meals, check
service times, or provide feedback
to the executive board.
Jon Rubins (’13) and Jeremy Klaben (’13) recognized that
signing up for meals at Hillel was not an efficient process.
As Rubins explains, “[Hillel] is not where it should be” with
its technology development. They decided to create an innovative solution: a smartphone app. Though perhaps less
appealing than Angry Birds and other popular apps available, the app that Klaben and Rubins are planning will serve
a practical role for students. Through the app students will
be able to reserve meals, check service times, or provide
feedback to the executive board, to name a few examples.
Furthermore, myHillel—an intended feature of the app—
will provide more individualized information, significantly
cutting down on spam or unwanted messages. Rubins states,
“The whole point is to engage and focus on the needs of
the students.”
News + RSVP
Social Media
Penicillin Hotline
Student focus groups have made recommendations ranging
from the inclusion of an intramural sports feature to suggestions for a name for the app. Rubins and Klaben hope that
the new app will simplify the jobs of Hillel staff members as
well. In fact, Rubins says the next step in the process is to
coordinate the Hillel website with the app to avoid redundancy while helping reach as wide a range of an audience as
possible. The Hillel app will arrive at an app store or android
market near you in the near future.
Rubins and Klaben aren’t the only innovative Hillel members on campus. David Rosenwein (’13) has created threeminute “Hillel Highlights” videos which capture the memorable moments of the previous week while previewing the
week to come. He also acknowledges the student volunteer
of the week and ends with an invitation to Shabbat dinner.
Groups within the Hillel community nominate members or
events to be featured in the three-minute video. In upcoming episodes, Rosenwein states, “I hope to have star appearances from athletes or other group leaders on campus.”
The “Highlights” videos, which have been well-received, can
be viewed on YouTube, Facebook, or www.umhillel.org. As
Rosenwein proudly declares, “Hillel Highlights is a way to
show students, alumni, [and] other Hillels why our Hillel is
so unique.”
Technology that seemed unrealistic a short time ago is now
not only reasonable, but well within reach. Students on U-M
campus will undoubtedly find this technology makes it easy
to connect to Hillel and to the Jewish community.
What the app will look like on an iPhone.
Andrew Shapiro (’14) studies in the Stephen M. Ross School
of Business. He is from Westchester, New York .
www.umhillel.org • 11
Before and After
By Nikki Koll
any Jews raised in the United States are taught
about Israel as their “homeland” and recognize
the importance of Zionism. However, many Jews
are not fortunate enough to visit Israel during their childhood, restricting their understanding and appreciation for
the country to what they learn through their parents and in
religious school. For that reason, Taglit-Birthright Israel was
developed in 2000 “to strengthen participants’ Jewish identity; to build an understanding, friendship and lasting bond
with the land and people of Israel; and to reinforce the solidarity of the Jewish people worldwide.”
M
As a part of the birthright program, University of Michigan
Hillel partners with trip organizer IsraelExperts to send
students on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip that allows students
to experience the unique culture, beauty, history, accomplishments, and inspiration the country has to offer.
I think one of the greatest aspects
about Birthright is the opportunity to
experience a little bit of every place.
We interviewed students both before and after the trip to
inquire about their expectations and experiences. We were
interested in how participants’ anticipations before attending the trip compared to their impressions once they returned home.
Additionally, the opportunity to explore prominent Israeli
landmarks was particularly exciting to prospective Birthright
participants. Some of the specific sites students anticipated
visiting included the Western Wall, Masada, and the Dead
Sea. Before going on Birthright, Stacey recalled learning the
significance and the stories behind these places and could
not wait to see them in person.
Another major aspect that excited these students about
the trip was the chance to create lifelong bonds with fellow
University of Michigan students. Eva believed that going to
Israel for the first time with her peers would allow her to
grapple with religious questions and have a more enriching
experience than she would if she went on this trip alone.
Students who applied for the trip had various expectations
and hoped to accomplish numerous goals through their
experiences. Before they embarked on their journey in December, Stacey Mates (’12), Eva Tulchinsky (’14) and Jamie
Goode (’14) were interviewed and said they were anxious to
create a personal connection with the state of Israel.
From left to right: Stacey Mates (’12), Gal Sapir, Kira Monin (’14),
Hannah Moiseev (’14), and Nikki Haven (’14).
When she was interviewed before the trip, Jamie discussed
the personal connection she was hoping to establish with
the state of Israel. Specifically, she said that she wanted to
gain a better understanding of her Jewish identity, what it
means to be a Jew, and how to better integrate Judaism into Some of the guys exfoliating at the Dead Sea. From left to
her day-to-day life.
right: Alex Allweil (’13), Michael Lourie (’14), Jeff Lavine (’14),
Steven Zuckerman (’12), Seth Fireman (’15), Noah Stone (’13),
and Joe Gelber (’13).
12 • University of Michigan Hillel
Birthright
Traveling to a distant land may seem scary to some, however Stacey felt otherwise. When asked if she was nervous,
she said “I’m not nervous, I think it’s because it hasn’t hit me
yet that I’m going to Israel for the first time in 10 days. I am
so excited!”
a famous Israeli breakfast food, and loved sleeping in the
Bedouin tent and kibbutzim. Stacey recalled picking fresh
fruit and vegetables at the ecological center, riding camels
at the Bedouin tent, eating over-sized bagels on Ben Yahuda
Street, and seeing the sunrise during the 4 a.m. climb up
Masada. She said, “I think one of the greatest aspects about
Regardless of how students felt entering the trip, most stu- birthright is the opportunity to experience a little bit of every
dents returned extraordinarily elated. Some words used to place.”
describe the experience include “life-changing”, “unbelievable”, and “educational.”
Michigan students experiencing the Western Wall.
From left to right: Emily Schottenfels (’15), Jamie Goode (’14),
Brooke Suskin (’12) and Nicole Barron (’14).
As the trip progressed, students forged an unimaginably
strong tie with Israel. For Jamie, this bond was felt upon her
visit to Jerusalem. She said driving to the city and seeing it
for the first time was unlike anything she had ever seen before. Eva experienced a particularly strong connection at the
Western wall. She said, “I could never have ever dreamed
that walking up to the Western Wall I would feel so connected to everything in Israel. It was a feeling I couldn’t imagine
before; it was an emotionally charged moment.”
Students commented on the vast amount of knowledge
they gained in only 10 short days. Eva said she learned so
much it “blew her mind”. Stacey also felt that the trip was
very informative. She said, “Our tour guide, Gigi, was incredible and taught me everything from the history of the state to
its ecological systems to the current conflicts with bordering countries. I left the trip feeling a lot more knowledgeable
about the past and current state of Israel.”
U-M students having a good time on the Shvil Hasalat (the Salad
Trail). From left to right: Jamie Goode (’14), Michael Lourie (’14),
Mark Feldman (’14), and Joe Gelber (’13).
Nikki Koll (’15) is in the College of LS&A.
She is from Westfield, New Jersey.
Gaining insight into Israeli culture was a very exciting part
of the trip for the students. Eva enjoyed eating Shakshouka,
www.umhillel.org • 13
U-M Students and YouthVille Detroit
Connect Through Maize and Blue Games
By Jamie Burke
C
ombining their love for sports and charity, a group
of students came together to develop a new
University of Michigan student group called Maize
and Blue Games. This exciting new group enlists U-M
students to participate in team sports to raise money to
support YouthVille Detroit.
The best part about the games
is that [they] facilitated healthy athletic
competition—something we all
benefited from growing up—in order
to positively affect the lives of children.
Jacob Lurie (’12), one of the new group’s leaders, explained
that the mission of Maize and Blue Games is to help provide
Detroit children with a safe and fun place to go after school.
YouthVille Detroit was a perfect fit. Dr. Gerald K. Smith
founded The Detroit Youth Foundation on the belief that
“young people need a safe place, [and] responsible, caring
adults engaged in their lives, to be intentionally involved in
their own development.” YouthVille Detroit’s 1,300 members aged 11–19 participate in various programs, including
leadership and career development as well as educational
enrichment.
Evan Kourtjian (’13) participating in the tournament.
teams of students participated in the hopes of making it to
the championship round to face a special team composed
of celebrity student athletes. The tournament was a success, raising more than $1,000 in donations. Because of the
help from local businesses such as Papa John’s, who served
pizza, Arbor Springs, who donated water, and Chipotle, who
donated chips and salsa and sponsored the registration
table, 100% of the proceeds from the event were donated
to YouthVille Detroit.
Evan Kourtjian (’13) believes “the best part about the games
is that [they] facilitated healthy athletic competition—something we all benefited from growing up—in order to positively affect the lives of children.” Casey Smith (’12) said “seeing
the tournament become a reality meant the world to [the]
group. All along our goal was to give back to a community we
care about through a medium we care about, and we were
able to do that through this dodgeball tournament.” Freshman Referee Will Lederer describes how it “was fun to see
the winners compete against varsity athletes like football
player Jordan Kovacs.” “It was great to feel the positive energy and excitement of all the participants that contributed
to the success of the tournament,” he continued.
One of the participants
competing in the tournament.
Planning is underway for The Maize and Blue Games’
next event in the fall of 2012, and although the sport has
not yet been finalized, you can be certain it will be a team
sport, with the hopes of continuing to raise more money for
YouthVille Detroit.
The inaugural Maize and Blue Games event was a campus- Jamie Burke (’15) is in the college of LS&A.
wide Dodge Ball Tournament on February 18th in the Univer- She is from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
sity of Michigan’s Intramural Sports Building. Sixteen diverse
14 • University of Michigan Hillel
The Maize and Blue Games Board after
a successful tournament.
“Know Your Neighbor” Launches at U-M Hillel
by Lizzy Schapiro
his past summer five students active in U-M Hillel
attended Hillel International’s Engagement Institute
at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. We
had a great group of students including the 2011 chair of the
governing board Jon Hornstein (‘12), the 2011 treasurer and
2012 chair of governing board David Rosenwein (‘13), our
Masa Israel Intern Tali Ribnick (’12), a leader of AMI (American Movement for Israel) Shira Sandler (‘13), and me, a leader of Challah for Hunger. We were all enthusiastic about engaging with students active in Hillels throughout the world.
T
KYN was a way for us to call upon
the members of our community
and ask them to put forth that
extra effort to make everyone
feel welcome at Hillel.
At the Engagement Institute, we participated in simulations
where we played out different scenarios that one might find
him/herself in when participating in a Hillel sponsored event.
One afternoon, we met as a group to discuss a particular
simulation. Because we were passionate about bringing this
energy we found at the Engagement Institute back to our
Hillel community, we were throwing out ideas, like kickoff
events and new Hillel merchandise, things that would spark
a fire under our Hillel community. I thought that adding a
theme or slogan to our name would make Hillel more memorable and would be more welcoming to incoming freshmen,
just as at the University of Michigan there is a theme for
the semester, the most notable being “The Michigan Differ-
ence.” Suddenly the theme hit me and seemed to just roll off
of my lips: Know Your Neighbor.
A combination of warmth and empowerment, Know Your
Neighbor (KYN) simply means engaging with new people.
In our proposal to implement KYN into our Hillel, we wrote,
“Often times, we try to create events with the goal of attracting as many bodies as possible, but we don’t just want
a collection of bodies, we want to create community.” To
those of us at the Engagement Institute, KYN was a way
for us to call upon the members of our community and ask
them to put forth that extra effort to make everyone feel welcome at Hillel.
Know your Neighbor launched at the beginning of the 2011
fall semester. Allie Conn, Berman Fellow at U-M Hillel, created a video introducing KYN and blasted it onto social networks like Facebook and Twitter. We made KYN pens that
were given to students at Mensch’s welcome back BBQ and
introduced KYN to all the group leaders. Name games and
bonding activities spread to every Hillel group and soon beKYN coordinator Lizzy Schapiro (’14) getting to know
came a staple of group meetings.
What I love most about KYN is the energy and passion for
meeting new people. This desire to reach out to new people
has always existed in our Hillel community and in the Jewish community at large (who doesn’t love a good game of
Jewish geography?). All we had to do was call attention to
this desire, and be inclusive, and our community responded
immediately. KYN has given a name to the spirit of the University of Michigan Hillel, and we will continue to encourage
our community to know their neighbors.
109,901 of her neighbors at a University of Michigan
football game.
Lizzy Schapiro (’14) is majoring in Art History.
She is from Scarsdale, New York.
www.umhillel.org • 15
U-M Hillel Welcomes Rabbi Seth Winberg
By Alli Komrower
information they have brought in while enjoying waffles
they help make) to “Radical Jewish Ideas” on Thursdays,
there is something for everyone. Be they Socratic discussions, learning the Talmud, or even discussing and learning
about our subconscious daily Jewish actions, Hillel’s learning programs are popular amongst a variety of students. In
addition to Jewish learning, Rabbi Seth has encouraged the
Rabbi Seth decided to become a rabbi for many reasons. continued diversification of Hillel’s outreach. For example,
After attending a Jewish day school and then a public high he spoke to a multi-faith engineering group about the ideals
school where he was one of only five Jews, he realized the and spirituality of Judaism.
importance of a Jewish education. While the Judaic Studies
classes he took at York University were very broad, Rabbi
Seth was looking to study Jewish texts for a “sense of independence and ownership of my own Jewish identity”. Rabbinical school gave him the instruction he desired.
his year the University of Michigan Hillel welcomed
Rabbi Seth Winberg to its staff. Born in Vancouver,
Canada, Rabbi Seth is definitely no stranger to the
cold weather of Ann Arbor! He is a graduate of Toronto’s
York University and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), an open
Modern Orthodox Rabbinical School in New York City.
T
Since he started working at Hillel, Rabbi Seth dove into
bringing Jewish education to the community. He teaches large classes, like Jewish Philosophy and Friday Night
Learning, but in his opinion, “a lot of Jewish learning is most
effective based on simple one-on-one education.” It is clear
he genuinely wants to get to know the students of Michigan,
learn what they care about, and help them discover what
kind of lives they want to lead as Jewish adults.
Rabbi Seth’s goal is to help students
become quality Jewish adults who
help build community from within.
Rabbi Seth is passionate about his work and eager to make
an impact on the University of Michigan. His goal is to help
students become quality Jewish adults who help build community from within by being a strong part of Jewish community. Meeting Rabbi Seth was a great experience and I know
he will continue to be a positive influence at the University of
Michigan Hillel for many years to come.
According to Rabbi Seth, there are Jewish education classes or events at Hillel almost every night of the week. From Allie Komrower (’15) is in the College of LS&A.
“Waffle Wednesdays” (where students discuss articles and She is from River Vale, New Jersey.
Rabbi Seth hard at work on the MuJew Alternative
Spring Break
16 • University of Michigan Hillel
Assistant Director Davey Rosen in the Spotlight
By Chloe Hirsch
Davey has enjoyed getting to know the Michigan students
and getting to “work with them to create their Jewish community.” Davey hopes that students will take advantage of
opportunities such as joining a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip or
working with a group to craft a new mission statement, and
that they “consider their core values, … think about their
place in this world as Jews, Americans, whatever their identity may be, and … know their decisions impact well beyond
themselves.” Davey is a great addition to our Hillel!
ou may recognize the name Davey Rosen as the
lead guitarist of the infamous punk rock band, The
Suburban Yuppies, which toured from West Bloomfield to Farmington Hills in the 90’s. But if that doesn’t ring
a bell for you, then you’ve probably seen him around Hillel
where he is the Assistant Director, or you may have even
gone on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip with him!
Y
Davey hopes to “support our students
as they create exciting and dynamic
Jewish lives on campus” in the future.
Chloe Hirsch (‘15) is in the College of LS&A.
She is from Scarsdale, New York.
Davey Rosen leading Shabbat services at Hillel Institute.
Davey graduated from North Farmington High School in
1998 and, unlike his peers who continued on to college after
graduation, Davey went to Israel with Young Judaea Year
Course. Bold decision, you might think, but he had developed a passion for Israel and Jewish history after spending
a high school semester in Israel. Also fueling his passion
were many summers spent at Camp Ramah in Canada,
where, according to its website, young people “develop
skills and leadership, close friendships and a Jewish consciousness that lasts a lifetime.” Davey could be the poster
child for the camp!
for Young Judaea and completed his Masters’ Degree in
Informal and Communal Jewish Education at the Davidson
School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. It was in New
York that he met his future wife, Jillian, and he also worked
as the family educator at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun.
Davey later moved to Boston to be the Assistant Director at
Camp Ramah in New England.
Why then did Davey come back to Michigan? Because he’s
“all about living an exciting and dynamic Jewish life and that
requires exciting and dynamic Jewish communities.” Davey
joined our U-M Hillel community in July 2011 because he
After his time in Israel, Davey kept with the warm weather believes that “Michigan students are critical thinkers and
theme and moved to Los Angeles to be a rock star while have a desire to ask big questions.” Davey hopes to “supalso attending the University of Judaism, where he received port our students as they create exciting and dynamic Jewa bachelor’s degree in modern Jewish History and Thought. ish lives on campus” because “it is people that define comIn 2004, Davey moved to New York City, where he worked munity, and the U-M Jewish community is strong, diverse,
smart and fun!”
www.umhillel.org • 17
Making a Difference in Israel and Michigan
By Lauren Kobrick & Jordan Korn
his winter, Hillel formed a new organization called other volunteers and
Medical Exposure (MEDx). Leedor Lieberman (‘13), drivers at each station.
its founder, shared the story of its formation with us. In addition, all the volunteers came back with a
“Last summer, I wanted to volunteer with Magen David feeling that they impactAdom, an Israel ambulance service. The ambulance service ed people’s lives. Leedor
has a non-denominational program that is open to all inter- said, “we saw births and
national individuals to train as first responders. After training, deaths, but overall the
we can ride in ambulances alongside Israeli EMTs. I thought experience was amazthis was a great idea so I spread the word around campus ing and one that I can’t
and found eight other students who wanted to volunteer for compare to anything I’ve
the summer.”
ever experienced.”
T
The goal of MEDx is to expose students
to medical environments through
volunteer and learning opportunities.
Leedor tutored the students for 2–3 months in introductory
Hebrew before they went to Israel. A basic level of Hebrew
is required for all volunteers. Once in Israel, the Michigan
participants found the program hosted people of various
ages, religions, and origins. All volunteers were required
to complete a 60-hour training course and then were dispersed to different volunteer locations across the country.
The Michigan group volunteered in Tel-Aviv, Ramat Gan,
and Bat Yam and lived together in apartments in downtown
Tel-Aviv.
When the eight volunteers returned to the University of Michigan, they
wanted to encourage
other students to experience what they did. However, they
realized that while volunteering in Israel was amazing, they
could still find that reward by volunteering in medical settings
in our Michigan community. This led to the formation of Medical Exposure, or MEDx. The goal of MEDx is to expose students to medical environments through volunteer and learning opportunities. Members are often in medical fields, and
are encouraged to participate in opportunities that will help
them refine their goals and interests in medicine.
MEDx group members and interested students at the
MEDx medical/public health student panel.
Later in the year, MEDx co-hosted “The Obesity Epidemic:
A Jewish Perspective” with the School of Public Health.
Award-winning researcher on obesity, Dr. Mendel Singer,
discussed the correlations between Judaism and obesity.
Also, MEDx is setting up weekly volunteering at Ypsilanti’s
Hope Clinic to give students the opportunity to work in a
volunteer-based health clinic. Finally, MEDx is in the process
of organizing another Michigan group to travel to Israel next
summer. The student leaders hope to inspire a new group of
students to volunteer in Israel by exposing them to serving
people through medicine in Ann Arbor.
Thirty students attended MEDx’s first meeting, and the newly created Facebook group has 74 members! The group’s
first event, hosting a Medical School/School of Public
Health student panel, had enormous success. The panel allowed students to learn about different health careers and
Leedor described the volunteering as “addicting” as every- application processes for different departments, and to ask Lauren Kobrick (’14) is in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public
one was eager to add extra shifts to their days. One of the questions of students in these medical related departments Policy. She is from Roslyn, New York. Jordan Korn (’14) is in the
best experiences for the volunteers was getting to know on campus.
College of LS&A. She is from Westport, Connecticut.
18 • University of Michigan Hillel
Hillel Friends
Thank you to all those who have made generous gifts to Hillel
from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
Stars of David
($25,000+)
Angels
($5,000–$9,999)
Mandell L. & Madeleine
H. Berman Foundation
Samuel (z”l) &
Jean (z”l) Frankel
Stanley & Judith Frankel
Stephen & Nancy Grand
Hillel: The Foundation for
Jewish Campus Life
Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit
Murray & Ina Pitt
The Ravitz Foundation
Carol & Herbert (z”l) Amster
Sheila & Joseph Gutman
Jewish Federation of
Washtenaw County
Harry & Andrea Krakowski
Robert Krasnov
Richard & Barbara Levy
Stewart & Barbara Mandell
Michigan B’nai B’rith
Hillel Fund
Robert & Marcie Orley
Joseph & Freida Ross
Foundation
Marc & Audrey Solomon
Spiegel Family
Founder’s Circle
($10,000–$24,999)
Jonathan S. & Mary Aaron
Kevin & Devorah Berman
Jewish Education Service
of North America
Robert & Lillie Breitbard
Fund: Gayle & Jerry Klusky
Robert Klyman & Dena Bloom
Michael & Patricia Levine
Repair The World, Inc.
William & Ellen Taubman
Joseph & Debra Weinberg
Diane & Howard Wohl
Zell Family Foundation
Chairman’s Circle
($1,800–$4,999)
4 Eleven Lofts LLC
Earl Abramson
Jack & Janet Baum
Jonathan & Amy Berman
Ann Berman & Daniel Feld
Mark Bernstein &
Rachel Bendit
David Blumenstein &
Jane Pollner
Jon & Lili Bosse
Jonathan & Nadine Carmel
Allen & Franka Charlupski
Foundation: Helen
2010–2011 True Blue Society
Those donors who have given for five consecutive years or more are denoted by
a listing in bold. These donors will receive a four-color magnet with the dates of the
Jewish holidays for 2012–2013.
Charlupski & Joseph
Biederman & Lawrence
& Elyn Charlupski
Bradley Chod &
Lauren Taney
DeRoy Testamentary
Foundation
Kenneth & Frances
Eisenberg
Warren & Mitzi Eisenberg
Halley & Ruth Anne Faust
Ronda & Ron Ferber
Foundation
Byron & Dorothy Gerson
Robert & Sarah Goodman
Eric & Karen Gurwin
Morton & Brigitte Harris
The Israel, Rose, Henry and
Robert Wiener Charitable
Foundation, Inc.
Bradley & Kimberly Keywell
Lisa & Hannan Lis
Rod & Tracy Loewenthal
Jonathan & Jane Medved
Charles & Sharon Newman
Amy & Kenneth Pollinger
Jack & Noreen Rounick
Benjamin & Ivy Schlechter
Jeff & Amy Schlussel
Brian & Tamara Sher
Jane & D. Larry Sherman
Richard & Barbara Silverman
Steven & Elisa Silverman
Fred & Eileen Springer
Mark & Robyn Tsesarsky
Herbert & Karen Wander
Marshall Weinberg
Jane & Neil Golub
Robert & Jill Granader
James & Nancy Grosfeld
Leadership Council
Foundation
($1,000–$1,799)
David & Heidi Haddad
Richard Harris
Anonymous
Doreen Hermelin
Morris & Fannie Skilken
Eric Horvitz
Family Foundation
Michael & Lenore Hyatt
Henry & Harlene Appelman
Howard & Trudy Jacobson
Rachel Barbanel-Fried
Daniel Jaffe &
Guy & Nora Barron
Cynthia Monaco
Lori & Bruce Berman
Steve Johnson &
Beth Israel Congregation
Laurie Zuckerman
Harold & Penny Blumenstein Susan & David Kalt
Paul Borman
Randall Kaplan &
Simeon Brinberg
Kathy Manning
Michael & Ruth Brooks
Barbara Kaplan Harris &
David & Julie Burton
Arthur Harris
Avern & Lois Cohn
Joan & Warren Kessler
James & Renay Danto
Marvin Kirsh
Jacob & Suzanne Doft
Sharon Klein
Ira Finkelstein
Norman & Kim Kurlan
Marjorie S. Fisher Fund
Sheila Lambert
Ronald & Carol Fogel
Paula & Henry Lederman
Sidney & Maddy Forbes
Kenneth & Pamela Lester
Eli & Peggy Futerman
Samuel Levine &
Charles & Rita Gelman
Laurie Blitzer
Genzyme
Edward C. & Linda Dresner
Conrad & Lynda Giles
Levy Foundation
Jamie & Paul Gold
Michael & Donna Maddin
Alan & Elise Goldberg
Sean & Heather Martin
Robin & Neil Goldberg
Richard & Joann Miller
Amanda & Ken Goldstein
Graham & Sally Orley
Robert & Laurie Goldstein
www.umhillel.org • 19
Suzanne & Joseph Orley
Foundation
Ygal & Carmit Ozechov
Gerson Panitch &
Debra Reiter Panitch
Steven & Claudia Perles
Ora Pescovitz
Nimrod & Ellen Raphaeli
Marcia Riesman
The Sigmund & Sophie
Rohlik Foundation
David & Ann Rosenbach
Daryosh & Vicki Sakhai
Anthony Scaglione
Robert & Bluma Schechter
Schostak Family Support
Foundation
Steven & Wendy Shenfeld
David & Ellen Sherman
Sigma Delta Tau—
Chi Chapter
Larry & Susan Slabotsky
Carol & Irving Smokler
Jerome & Marilyn Soble
Jeffrey & Susan Stern
Moshe Sukenik &
Nan Kurzman
Joel & Shelley Tauber
The Trico Foundation:
Coville-Triest Family
Foundation
Steven & June Volk
Arthur & Trudy Weiss
David & Cynthia Wiesman
Sylvia & Randall Wolf
Andrea & Lawrence Wolfe
Sponsors
($500–$999)
Anonymous
Sallie Kochin Abelson
Joe & Susan Alpert
Robert & Diane Altkorn
Christine Anderson
Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan
Ilana Greenfield Baden
Stephen Baer &
Nancy Baron-Baer
Harold & Roberta Barron
Rachel Behar
Robin & Alan Bell
Danya & Marc Berman
David Bernstein
Jill & Jay Bernstein
Samuel & Susan Bernstein
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20 • University of Michigan Hillel
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Patrons
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www.umhillel.org • 21
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22 • University of Michigan Hillel
Will Corrdin
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www.umhillel.org • 23
Juliet & Steven Plonsker
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24 • University of Michigan Hillel
Jill Seigerman
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www.umhillel.org • 33
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34 • University of Michigan Hillel
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Summer Meet and Greets
By Arielle Weingast
T
he weather was gray;
it matched my mood
perfectly. In about four or
five days, I was to leave for my first
semester at Michigan, and the last
thing I wanted to do was go to a Hillel Meet and Greet. I thought I had
better things to do with my time —
hanging with friends, packing, any- The author, Arielle
thing seemed better than going to Weingast (’15).
a stranger’s house and meeting other Jews from New Jersey
entering their freshmen year at Michigan. Little did I know this
Meet and Greet would be the perfect opportunity to introduce
me to Michigan’s Jewish community in addition to helping
me meet other incoming freshmen interested in maintaining a
Jewish identity in college.
this resource, and had I not gone on that gray day in August,
I am not so sure I would have used it. During Welcome Week,
my roommate and I decided to venture to Hillel for Shabbat
Dinner. There were hundreds of students there, some observing the prayers religiously, while others were there to eat and
gather before going out for the night. It was great to see so
many different levels of observance in one place, as well as
so many different students all gathering for Shabbat Dinner.
Carly says the Hillel Meet and Greet
was the “ideal way to ease into
the school year.”
Since the experience was such a positive one for me, I was
very interested to hear what Sallie Abelson, Development Director of U-M Hillel, had to say about these summer Meet
and Greets. When I sat down with her, she explained to me
that U-M Hillel hosted these events in Washington D.C., Los
Angeles, New Jersey, Chicago, New York City, Boston,
Detroit and Ann Arbor. In total, around 200–250 freshmen and
their parents attended one of eight Meet and Greets. Sallie
said Hillel’s intentions were to “inform, have the students
meet each other, and give helpful hints to the freshmen and
their parents.” The purpose of the Meet and Greets “is to help
the students become familiar with the university and Hillel and
As much as I did not want to go, my mom wanted to go even decrease anxiety about the college experience, especially for
more. Since I was involved in my temple all throughout high out-of-state students.” And they did just that.
school, she wanted to make sure I would preserve a connection with Judaism. After attending, she was reassured know- As a result of attending the New Jersey Meet and Greet,
ing that I would have a Jewish home on campus. She was I found a sense of security knowing that Hillel was available
“impressed with the varied and extensive programs at Hillel to me in more than just a religious aspect. Hillel offers a very
and the care that Hillel gives to U-M students.”
simple and rewarding way of meeting great friends—just
another one of its many perks.
My feelings after the Meet and Greet were very similar to
those of my mom and Carly. I left feeling much more relaxed Hillel is currently working on plans for this upcoming summer.
knowing that there was a place for me to go to on the High Parents or students who are interested in a Meet and Greet in
Holidays, or even just for a Shabbat dinner. I actually used your area should contact Sallie Abelson at (734) 769-0500 or
As I walked into the house, I recognized a girl I knew from
Facebook and through friends. She smiled, waved and said,
“How are you?” This girl, Carly Skinder (’15), is now one of
my best friends. And although this encounter was brief, her
friendliness was warming and her similar curiosity was reassuring. To this day, we always laugh about our first meeting.
Carly says the Hillel Meet and Greet was the “ideal way to
ease into the school year.” Not only did it introduce her to her
peers who were “also eager to get involved in a smaller community on campus,” but it also comforted her.
Guests at the Boston Meet and Greet enjoying some food and
meeting new people. From left to right: Lauren Warshaw (’15),
Shari Idelson (’15), and Sue Idelson
[email protected] If you are aware of any incoming underclassmen who might be interested in attending, please email
U-M Hillel at [email protected] or call Sallie Abelson.
Arielle Weingast (’15) is majoring in Communications
and Psychology. She is from Tenafly, New Jersey.
Summer 2012 Meet and Greets for new students and their parents
Boston
August 16, 7:00–9:00 PM
New York
August 19, 4:00–6:00 PM
Hosted by Elisa and Steven Silverman,
parents of Peri (’13) and Eliot Silverman
(’15), at their house in West Newton,
Massachusetts.
Hosted by Andrea and Harry
Krakowski, parents of Rachel
Krakowski (’15), at the Skyline
Hotel, 725 10th Ave. at 49th St.
New York, New York
New Jersey
August 19, 11:30 AM–1:30 PM
Hosted by Elaine and Stuart Berger,
parents of Jonathan Berger (’13),
at their house in Pine Brook, New Jersey.
Washington D.C./Baltimore
August 21, 7:00–9:00 PM
Hosted by Lisa and Mitch Eisen,
parents of Ariella Eisen (’15), at their
house in Potomac, Maryland.
Chicago
August 22, 7:00–9:00 PM
Hosted by Hilary and Allan Greenberg,
parents of Joanna Greenberg (’13), at
their house in Highland Park, Illinois.
www.umhillel.org • 35
A message from
David Rosenwein
I
distinctly remember the first time I walked into the
University of Michigan Hillel. I had just spent the day
unpacking my belongings and my parents and I decided to go to the Hillel Café for dinner. Chaim Frenkel (’12), a
friendly sophomore who was dining at the Café, greeted my
family and ended up inviting me to hang out with his friends
later that evening. I instantly knew this was the place for me.
Chair of the University of Michigan
Hillel Governing Board
of people in suits, jeans, and everything in between, all chatting and celebrating Shabbat together. This is something I
found to be remarkable.
Never did I see myself getting involved in Hillel’s leadership. But at the end of my freshman year I participated in
the American Movement for Israel, a Hillel group, and some
upperclassmen began to speak to me about running for the
Governing Board of Hillel. I had a strict policy of staying away
from politics. I enjoyed being friends with everyone and, as a
political science major, I understand that is almost an impossible task for any politician. However, as my sophomore year
continued I began to reconsider. I loved Hillel because of the
community, because of its diversity, and most of all because I
felt like I had a new home. I realized that to ensure other Jewish students would continue to have incredible experiences
with Hillel it was my responsibility to be a part of the leaderAs a freshman I was shy. I had graduated from an Orthodox ship of this diverse community. In the middle of my sophoJewish Day School in New Jersey with 48 students in my more year I ran for Hillel Governing Board and was elected by
grade and now I was embarking on a journey where there my peers to be treasurer.
would be over 4,800 students in my freshman class. My
roommates seemed very different from me and I was worried My year as treasurer is one I will never forget. As a unit we
about fitting in while maintaining my Jewish identity. Because accomplished so much, and on an individual level I grew from
I was dining on the Hillel kosher meal plan, I became a regular the experience tremendously. The direct impact I was able
at Hillel and within the first couple of weeks I began to feel to have on an organization and on a university that I deeply
more comfortable. This was largely due to the older students care about was invaluable to me. I was able to learn from the
I met at Hillel who took time to advise me on classes, majors, Hillel staff, my fellow board members, and most importantly
the students whom I represented. Together we made Hillel
and summer plans.
a welcoming environment where students felt comfortable
I enjoyed the Hillel community; I was making friends and and engaged. We worked on initiatives such as jNET, which
meeting a diverse group of Jewish people. I could walk in sought to engage students who did not necessarily feel comto Hillel on Friday night for Shabbat dinner and see people fortable in the Hillel building.
dressed in all different ways. Contrary to my expectations, everyone got along. At any given table you could find a number In November I was elected as Chair of the 2012 Governing
I loved Hillel because of the
community, because of its diversity,
and most of all because I felt like
I had a new home.
Board. There is a lot of work to be
done. Luckily, I am surrounded by
wonderful, hard-working, and
skilled board members who
share a vision for Hillel. We
have made it our mission to
enhance our leadership development by asking leaders to choose the skills they
want to improve; to offer
more freshman programming by reconstructing the
student group “First Year
Students of Hillel” (FYSH) to
meet the diverse needs of freshmen; and to recognize the dedication and hard work of student volunteers who create the incredible
programs throughout the year for our
community.
My first semester as chair has been
phenomenal. I truly love the impact
we have made so far and am even
more excited to see more of our other
plans come to fruition in the fall. The
vision I have, that I hope will stay with
Hillel, is that every Jew on campus can
feel like they have a community to support them and a place to call home. Being Jewish is different for everybody and you don’t have to enter our building to
be engaged in our thriving community.
David Rosenwein (’13) is majoring in Political Science.
He is from Springfield, New Jersey.
University of Michigan Hillel Newsletter
Mandell L. Berman Center • University of Michigan Hillel • 1429 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734.769.0500 • www.umhillel.org
The Hillel newsletter is published once a year by University of Michigan Hillel.
Executive Editor: Sallie Kochin Abelson (’67)
Editor: Michael Spitulnik (’10)
Associate Editors: Chris Stauffer (’75),
Lauren Kobrick (’14), and Jordan Korn (’14)
Graphic Designer: Kendall Arbogast-Wilson (’89)
Assistant Graphic Designer: Michael Spitulnik (’10)

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