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Rabbi Josh Snyder

(L to R) Yasha Rayzberg ’15 and Eli Kaufman ’15


Rabbi Josh Snyder, Executive Director (410) 337-6545 Yona Gorelick, Associate Director (410) 337-6404 Lola Hahn, Development Director (410) 843-7450

2012-13 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Nancy Brandt Gertner ’72, Chair Sally Davis ’84, Vice Chair Merle Intner, Secretary/Treasurer Ruth Lenrow ’74, Development Chair Eli Kaufman ’15, Student Co-president Yasha Rayzberg ’15, Student Co-president Joey Fink ’15, Student Representative Dr. Patricia Attman ’74 Judi Davidson-Wolf P ’14 Maggi Greenberg Gaines ’71 Lee Gerstein ’07 Laura Gilman ’07 Beth Goldsmith ’72 Bettina Heiman ’69, P ’04 Dr. Amalia Honick Linda Goldmeier Katz ’70 Searle E. Mitnick Gail Shaivitz Oppel ’94 Barbie Prince ’85, P ’12 Barbara Roswell Allison Sheff ’06 Lois Zoller ’62

GOUCHER HILLEL: INVEST IN A JEWISH FUTURE We would like to thank all of our donors who contributed this year. The past year has been a very exciting time to be involved with Goucher Hillel. As we enter our new fiscal year, please consider helping us out in the hopes of making Goucher Hillel a brighter and stronger place. Any donation made to Goucher College will result in full recognition from the college and Hillel. Simply make your check payable to Goucher College and write “Goucher Hillel” in the memo line. Donations are also accepted online at

Please join us as is called to the Torah….” is a familiar phrase from many bar and bat mitzvah invitations. It also carries great meaning: For a young person, being called to the Torah is the beginning of engagement with the Jewish community as a full participant. It is a moment of great potential, requiring a new type of growth, fostered in community. Entering college is an even more universal marker of maturity. Students arrive at Goucher each August with a sense that they will change through the experience of college. That growth happens through collaboration among students, their families, faculty, and staff. Students gain knowledge here, along with critical-thinking skills, new global and cultural perspectives, and a sense of civic engagement. Goucher Hillel has been “called to the Torah,” dedicating our first Torah Scroll. Our organization is at a new stage in our growth, which calls for a new approach to inspiring Jewish students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life. This year, Goucher Hillel begins a new commitment to consciously and deliberately advancing students’ growth in both Jewish and non-Jewish realms. We will prepare our students for lives as leaders and participants in a new Jewish community that speaks their language. This will be accomplished through a combination of impactful experiences, self-assessment, and opportunities for meaningful reflection. Students come to Goucher College with the expectation that this is a college that changes lives. As our Hillel enters its 17th year, we hope to become known nationwide as a Hillel that changes lives, too. Thank you for your support toward this exciting goal,

ver the course of the past year, Goucher Hillel has taken programming to new heights. Our social justice, educational, and social programs have raised attendance at events to levels that Hillel has not seen in years. We have also worked endlessly to create connections with other Baltimore-area Hillels. We had a huge first-year class and at our Sleepover in the Sukkah event more than 35 new students attended and began to build their connection to our group. Towson University Hillel and Goucher College Hillel have also become closer than ever through joint Simchat Torah and Purim programs. This relationship will only continue to be strengthened in the coming years. A focus on social-justice programming opened doors to different departments on campus including the disabilities support services at Goucher. We learned about unequal distribution of food at a Hunger Banquet that had high attendance. This year we strived to create a pluralistic environment to make sure that everyone who entered felt welcomed. We brought students from the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox rabbinical schools for shabbat scholarin-residence visits. This gave Jewish and non-Jewish students an insight into the range of different movements in Judaism. This year, while we built teddy bears for kids in need, tie-dyed, and bowled, we laughed and created memories that will last long after our time at Goucher is over. B’chavod (with honor), Eli Kaufman ’15 and Yasha Rayzberg ’15 2012-13 Goucher Hillel Student Co-presidents

Rabbi Josh Snyder, Executive Director 2

Inscribing Our Future


s the school year came to a close, the Goucher community gathered to welcome its newest member, a 131-year-old transfer originally from the Czech town of Brno. Goucher’s first Torah, a Czech Memorial Scroll that survived the Holocaust, came to us via Shaare Tikvah Congregation in Waldorf, MD, with the help of the Linder family of Yardley, PA. The scroll needed extensive repairs in order to restore it to kosher status, and many supporters jumped in to help our Jewish community make this dream a reality. On April 28, community members were invited to fill in a letter in the Torah, fulfilling the mitzvah (commandment) to take part in the writing of a Torah, adding a Goucher chapter to the legacy of the Torah. On May 2, the Torah was completed at Hillel’s annual meeting in a stirring dedication ceremony. Representatives from the donating synagogue, alumnae/i, parents, and students shared inspirational words, a few of which we share with you below along with photos from the events. A second Torah was granted from Shaare Tikvah, and artist Susan Leviton was commissioned to create beautiful Torah mantles and binders for both Sifrei Torah (Torah Scrolls). GH


At their naming ceremonies, we prayed that our daughters Rebecca and Leah would enter into a life of Torah, chuppah, and ma’asim tovim, good deeds. Hillel at their respective colleges has enabled them to deepen and connect with their Jewish identity in many ways, and to achieve those aims. – Judi Davidson Wolf P ’14 Hillel and this community have been available for me throughout my four years here… I am excited that with this Torah, the tradition of community high holiday services and more will be able to continue for future generations. – April Linder ’13 I feel privileged to speak this evening at this Torah dedication, representing two generations of Goucher College alumnae, and to contribute toward the restoration of this Sefer Torah, in memory of my parents… Tonight, I stand here in gratitude, for my parents who encouraged me to pursue my academic interests and for the exceptional education that Goucher College gave me. (I am now a college professor, teaching chemistry and biochemistry.) Having glimpsed the ktav (the script) of this historic Sefer Torah rescued from the Shoah (Holocaust), I feel tremendous Jewish strength knowing that I am part of this chain of tradition, shalshelet hazahav/shalshelet ha-kabbalah (the golden chain/chain of tradition). – Ann Eisenberg Shinnar ’72

(from top) Ed Halikman, president of Shaare Tikvah in Waldorf, dances with the Torah, circled by jubilant students. Rabbi Gedaliah Druin shows Aileen Heiman ’04 and Tina Heiman ’69 how to write a letter in the Torah. Earle, Joanne, and April Linder ’13 hold the Torahs with their new mantles. Nancy Brandt Gertner ’72, Ann Eisenberg Shinnar ’74, and Marlene Trestman ’78 fill in one of the final letters.

Then & Now As Goucher Hillel enters its 17th year, there is much to celebrate. Opportunities for students to grow as Jewish adults, as leaders, and as global citizens abound. These snapshots highlight some of the ways in which Jewish life at Goucher has grown, both with the establishment of Goucher Hillel in 1997 and in the dynamic years since then.

Celebrating Shabbat in the Weinberg Jewish Student Center

1999 1999 Student board preparing for biweekly shabbaton with director Joel Lynn


habbat has provided a weekly opportunity for students to find a home and community in the Weinberg Jewish Student Center in Stimson Hall, also affectionately known as Hillel or the KDH (Kosher Dining Hall). In the early days of Goucher Hillel, every other weekend was a “shabbaton,” featuring activities prepared by a shabbat committee. There were Friday night dinners with 50 students regularly attending, along with games after dinner that offered opportunities for students to discuss some of life’s big questions. “Finding a home in Hillel is one of the major things that shaped my Goucher experience and made it as special as it was,” says Aliza Epstein ’03. Laura Gilman ’07 also recalls fondly, “We wanted Hillel to be a place where all Jewish (and even non-Jewish) students would feel comfortable engaging in their own way. [Director] Alison Wielechowski encouraged us to think outside of the box.” In recent years, each shabbat dinner has had a different theme, and Hillel has hosted rabbinical student shabbaton visits designed to enable students to consider different approaches to shabbat and Jewish practice. Most shabbat activities still take place in the Weinberg Jewish Student Center. The 2010-11 student board initiated upgrades to Hillel’s physical home on campus to make it more inviting. This year, Goucher Hillel is planning a significant renovation of its space to better welcome students into an inviting lounge and program space.

2011 2011 Student leaders in front of a student-designed mural, quoting the sage Hillel: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?’

Immersive Experiences

2000 2000 Passover in Odessa, Ukraine, with Goucher and Ukrainian students


ach year, Goucher Hillel has provided immersive experiences, trips during school breaks that significantly advance students’ Jewish journeys. These have included Taglit-Birthright Israel trips (see page 6) that have taken more than 300 Goucher students to Israel. Dozens of students have also joined alternative spring break servicelearning trips in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, in Honduras, and in Nicaragua with American Jewish World Service, and here in Baltimore (see page 8). These trips still have an effect on students’ lives many years


Leading Jewish Holiday Celebrations


roviding students with the tools and confidence to lead Jewish lives is central to the mission of Goucher Hillel. When students actively use these tools, it creates a sense of ownership of their own Jewish experience. A mainstay in that toolbox is empowering students to celebrate Jewish holidays and special moments.


For the last three years, Goucher Hillel has made mini-grants, meals, coaching, and supplies available to students who wish to lead their own Passover seders. Between a communal seder led by staff and six others led by students, nearly 100 students participated in a Passover seder this year at Goucher.


“Being able to share stories of our own Passover seder celebrations at home and the many ways in which the holiday is relevant today in all of our lives was such a valuable opportunity,” Gabe Saltzman PB ’13 reflected.

1998 Tu BiShvat seder, celebrating the start of spring

Since 2009, student interns using the methodology of peer engagement have empowered hundreds of their fellow students to advance their personal Jewish journeys, catapulting Jewish life at Goucher. In 2010, Goucher Hillel achieved national recognition as a Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Campus Exemplar of Excellence for empowering student leadership, building relationships across campus and throughout the community, and educating individuals.

2013 Passover seder with post-baccalaureate premedical students

2013 2013 Poland trip

later. Naomi Richman ’02 (back row, fourth from left in picture on lower left) fondly recalls a trip to Odessa, Ukraine (Baltimore’s sister city), with former director Joel Lynn, through the Joint Distribution Committee, to help lead Passover sedarim in 2000. More recently, students from the Baltimore Hillels visited Poland in June on a trip sponsored by the Polish government and the Taube Foundation. Development Director Lola Hahn (front row, left in lower right photo) and


Aaron Richmond ’14 (middle row, second from right) represented Goucher on the trip. Trip participants from Hopkins Hillel said: “This trip showed us that while the Holocaust is a crucial part of Poland’s history, it has come a tremendous way since, and that there is important and meaningful Jewish life continuing to grow in Poland.” Hillel also helps students to find Jewish connections and resources as they study abroad. All of these experiences provide building blocks toward lifelong Jewish commitments.

Transcendent Experiences in Israel

Israel Fellow Joins Staff

by Dana Ehrentreu ’16

Israelis from Ashkelon, Baltimore’s sister city. Each one of these 46 people played an integral part in my Israel experience. Each one of them is truly extraordinary. I will never forget our trip leaders, Sam and Jason; tour guide, Lana; guard, Dor; last-minute traveler, Eldad; and our bus driver, Uri; each of whom had an impact on me. Even our bus, lovingly named the “Mystery Machine,” became a place of chatter and laughter among Israelis, Americans, and staff alike.


arrived at college having already been around the world and back—tropical islands, third-world countries, Europe, and Israel (as part of an eighth-grade school trip). Each trip excited me, but for different reasons. The sights, smells, sounds, languages, and foods made me joyful. Therefore, my expectations regarding my Taglit-Birthright Israel trip over winter break were high. I would have never imagined that my trip would soar so high above my expectations and that the experience would change me as a person. I am amazed at just how in love I am with Israel, the land, and how connected I am to its people. The land of Israel is unique—the desert, cities, and holy sites. Watching the sunset in Jerusalem made me feel at peace. Praying at the Western Wall moved me immensely. Traveling to Mount Herzl brought tears to my eyes. Climbing Masada literally and figuratively took my breath away. The smell and tastes of falafel, shwarma, fresh fruits, Israeli salads, and the popular chocolate milk in a bag made me drool. All of the physical aspects of Israel enhanced my experience, but I came back with a story, which centers on people—people who I was fortunate enough to meet and get to know. My Taglit-Birthright Israel group, all strangers to me upon arriving at Newark airport, was made up of 39 Americans and 7

Everyone from the group brought something different to the table. We shared our stories of Jewish memory and, at the end of the trip, our favorite and most rewarding experience. We sang “Lu Yehi” to the tune of “Let It Be.” We celebrated bar and bat mitzvah and the receiving of Hebrew names. Then, closer to the end of the trip, the Israelis introduced us to their home, Ashkelon. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy. I was lucky to be able to stay past the 10 days of the organized trip and encounter Israel and the Israeli people and volunteers in a different way. These people were crucial to my immersion in the Hebrew language and the land. I stayed with a host group, a small commune of 24-year-olds in Ashkelon. Each person was nothing short of magnificent. They treated me as if I were one of their family. They taught me to cook and helped me practice my Hebrew. Working at Meytar, an at-risk children’s center, was difficult and rewarding. Teaching English to children in middle school in Ashkelon was challenging as well. As my time volunteering came to a close, five of the little boys attending the school followed me around as though they’d known me for years! My Taglit-Birthright Israel trip was nothing less than incredible. Israel is now my second home. The people in Israel are my people. Taglit-Birthright Israel brought my Judaism alive in a way that nothing else could have. Should you have the opportunity make this trip, do it! It will be one of the most significant times of your life. GH


his fall on campus, students will meet a new staff member who will ensure regular opportunities to connect with Israel. Adi Snir will be joining Goucher Hillel’s staff as Israel Fellow, also taking on that role at Towson Hillel. Snir is part of a national program between Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) that puts engaging, talented Israeli emissaries (shlichim) on college campuses all across the country. The program is subsidized by Hillel and JAFI with generous support from the Israel Engagement Center at THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Snir has served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a coordinator of cultural and educational programs, and has a degree in social work. She is completing a year as an emissary (shlicha) for the Pittsburgh, PA, Jewish community. “As the new Israel Fellow at Goucher and Towson Hillels, I’m very excited to get to know the students and what they’re passionate to do next year,” offered Snir. “I hope that through the programs we’ll build together, including the Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, we will be able to ‘bring Israel’ to the campuses in a way that will encourage more students to explore their connection to it.” In her role as Israel Fellow at Goucher, Snir will focus on engaging students with the full variety and complexity of life in Israel, including language, history, culture, religion, people, and places. “We want our students to be challenged to see different aspects of Israel, while still supplying the basic knowledge needed to enter and continue the conversation,” shared Rabbi Josh Snyder, executive director. “Adi brings a new perspective and experience, but even more importantly, a willingness to listen.” GH 6

Emphasis on Leadership


ach Hillel strives to create as many meaningful Jewish experiences for college students as possible. Good student leadership is the most critical element in transmitting that vision from professionals to the entire student body. Goucher Hillel and the other Baltimore Hillels are committed to investing in student leaders, not only to benefit Hillel, but because they are the Jewish leaders of the future. Each semester, Goucher Hillel’s student board engages in a shabbat leadership retreat, often hosted at the home of Rabbi Josh. In addition to bonding, the leaders are able to engage in big-picture conversations about how to approach difficult issues, what their collective and individual goals are, and how to create a welcoming and engaging atmosphere for Jewish life on campus. This semester a board committee met to create a shabbat community guideline for Hillel, taking into account variations in practice and the need to embrace pluralism while maintaining a safe haven for traditional practice. At semester’s end, the board also ratified a new structure designed to make the executive board smaller and to grow student leadership through select board committees to give students a gateway experience to leadership. The Baltimore Hillels this year created a citywide student leadership development experience called eBling (Eisenberg Leadership Institute for Nurturing Growth).

eBling participants see their leadership abilities rise during an evening at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Four or five emerging leaders were chosen from each campus (Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Towson, and UMBC), and the group met in Washington, DC, in January for an intensive leadership institute designed to broaden the view of their potential impact and deepen their understanding of themselves in their roles as leaders. Students connected with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Israeli Embassy, Hillel’s Schusterman International Center, and leadership coaches. One student from

Towson reflected, “Together, we collaborated on the best ways to bring Jewish leadership onto our campuses. I am inspired to pay it forward by bringing my new knowledge, skills, and values back to campus and creating an even stronger Jewish community.” Our leaders give a great deal to Hillel in terms of their time and energy. These initiatives aim to make the leadership experience both growth-oriented and rewarding. GH

Tzedek Begins with Changing Perspective

Tzedek, literally righteousness, is Hillel’s overarching term for social action, advocacy, and service. At Goucher, where there is a commitment to global citizenship, tzedek is a primary mode of Jewish identity. Stephanie


Stern ’15, Hillel tzedek chair, believes that experiences to create identification and understanding are key to motivating people to act. To that end, she organized two campus-wide events this year. During the fall semester, Stern organized a “Hunger Banquet.” Attendees drew cards that dictated how much and when they could eat. During the dinner, Stern shared striking facts highlighting the gaps between rich and poor and the issues involved in world hunger. In the spring, she held a “Disabilities Dinner” in conjunction with Goucher’s Disabilities Initiative, during which attendees coped with simulated disabilities. “The Hunger Banquet and the Disabilities Dinner were implemented with the support

and inspiration of my peers and staff members at Goucher College Hillel,” shared Stern. “I wanted these two events to open the minds of Goucher community members to the injustices that vulnerable populations face. I wanted participants to experience, even briefly, what it’s like for people who have inadequate nutrition or physical disabilities.” The events drew students from across the entire Goucher community, emphasized the Jewish value of tzedek, and built bridges for collaborative social justice work in the future. Stern shared, “Participants left the Hunger Banquet and Disabilities Dinner with a broader prospective and a willingness to be more compassionate to each other and to humankind.” GH

GOUCHER HILLEL Goucher College 1021 Dulaney Valley Road Baltimore, MD 21204

Goucher Hillel is a program of THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, and is affiliated with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

13516-J2060 06/13

Goucher Builds

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit #1262 Baltimore, MD

Allison Susser ’14


s a child, dropping coins into a tin can every week at Hebrew School, I was aware that “tzedakah” plays a big role in Judaism. Yet it’s only been as I’ve grown older that I’ve learned that “tzedakah” means much more than charity. Acts of tzedakah are about justice and fairness, and they are part of our duty as Jews. This year I participated in Goucher Builds, a multifaith alternative spring break program with Goucher Hillel that focused on issues of housing and homelessness in Baltimore. We constructed homes with Habitat for Humanity, visited nonprofits, and met with community leaders and individuals who are often ignored and invisible but who really need to be heard. It’s easy to get stuck in the Goucher bubble, oblivious to all that goes on in Baltimore, but this experience opened my eyes to many interconnected issues that contribute to homelessness right in our backyard: education, unemployment, incarceration, and, most importantly, lack of affordable housing.

When touring the Old Goucher neighborhood, program participants found this street art that spoke to their gratitude for the experience. (Top row from left) Kiera McCarthy ’15, Hayley Libowitz ’15, Allison Rovensky ’13, Sarah Meade ’13, Allison Susser ’14, Chris Nobriga ’15 (Bottom row from left) Lionel Tchechuent Pelap ’16, Cara O’Leary ’14, Amanda Griffith ’13, Stephanie Stern ’15, Caroline Daniels ’16

During Goucher Builds, we had dinner at a transitional home that assists men with re-entry into society following incarceration. I remember one man in particular, John, who had the biggest smile on his face as we introduced ourselves, talked about our interests, and broke down the stereotypes we had. Meg Stephenson, director of Patrick Allison House and a Goucher alumna, explained that when she was in college, she thought she was going to change the world. Now, she focuses on changing her own corner of the world. This was extremely motivating for me.

Goucher Builds opened our eyes and minds to a world that is so close to home but one from which we are so often removed. Participating in this trip made me feel empowered, hopeful, and motivated to continue my relationship with Baltimore and to continue learning about the important issues surrounding us. Starting next year I will be part of a new and ongoing community-based learning program at Goucher that will focus on housing and homelessness in Baltimore. I am excited to take the next step in discovering my passions, deepening my connection to Jewish values, and giving back in new and different ways. GH

Hillel Newsletter Summer 2013  
Hillel Newsletter Summer 2013  

Goucher Hillel Newsletter Summer 2013