by Anna Cavallino
photo courtesy of BU Hillel Facebook
Hillel is the foundation for Jewish campus life. Due to this technical definition, it is easy for people to assume that a university’s Hillel House is a building for religious Jewish students to practice Judaism among their peers. If you have ever spent any time at BU’s Hillel House on Bay State Road, you would know that this presumption is far from the truth. While it does bring together Jewish students (whether religiously or culturally) who are looking for a community in which they can feel comfortable among those with similar backgrounds, it also welcomes non-Jewish students. While you may think students just hang out at Hillel to play ping-pong or do homework in between classes, there is much that goes on behind the scenes. Hillel currently carries out over a dozen initiatives, many of which are led by students, giving students opportunities to serve as role models and leaders in the Jewish community. It is this leadership that was celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Sunset Cantina in West Campus.
BU’s Jewish Leadership Team looks forward to this event all semester, for it is a celebration of the team’s hard work and dedication in acting and leading by example in the Jewish community.
E-board member of JEW (Jewish Empowered Women) Hana Kraus (CAS ’22), one of the young Jewish leaders in attendance at the event, gives her take on what the event means to her.
“I have been to this event two semesters in a row and I love the way it brings together people who have a shared goal of reaching out and leading their Jewish peers,” Kraus said. “It’s nice being around people who have a similar sense of dedication and commitment to their community.”
After gobbling down on some delicious pizza and Sunset Cantina’s infamous nachos, students took a moment to watch a presentation put together by BU’s videographer, Max Hakim, highlighting all of the great work BU’s Jewish leaders have accomplished over the semester. It featured initiatives such as BU’s Birthright Recruitment Team, Sababa Fellows, Cafe Ivrit and many more. Not only did it celebrate accomplishments already made, but it served as an inspiration for those interested in joining an initiative and even helping to lead it and reform it to make it better.
And, there’s more! Something new to the event this year was the inclusion of a lottery in that if they choose to participate, BU’s Jewish leaders put the name of their initiative in a bowl along with other initiatives and whatever two get chosen at random have to collaborate with each other in some shape or form.
Shelli Gorokhovsky, co-founder of Cafe Ivrit, a Hillel initiative focused on learning the Hebrew language in a more casual, non-classroom setting, was particularly ecstatic about the idea.
“I have been looking forward to expanding Cafe Ivrit for so long and collaborating with other teams could definitely be a way to create more dynamic meetings and events for students interested in learning Hebrew and going to Israel!”