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Inspiring students to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity through meaningful Jewish experiences so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. This has been a year to rejoice at Hillel at Georgia Tech as we continue to inspire Jewish celebration, strengthen Jewish commitment, and promote Jewish community. Thanks to the dedication of the Hillel professional staff – Shira Rothman – student leaders, lay leaders, and our supporters we had a meaningful impact on more than 200 unique Jewish students this year with a total attendance of over 3,300 at our 124 Hillel sponsored activities!
ORIENTATION: Students and their families were welcomed to Tech at the Hillel-AEPi Freshman BBQ where they had a chance to meet Hillel student leaders, Hillel staff, and other Jewish students on campus and learn how they can participate and even become future leaders. Bonding began when more than 90 students enjoyed the first of many Bagel Breaks and continued as students rafted down Tennessee’s Ocoee River. HOLIDAYS AND OBSERVANCE: As Rosh Hashanah approached, students had a great time educating the
campus by handing out apples and honey (and free High Holiday services tickets). Thanks to Jesse Zell this year’s Sukkah was the biggest ever built at Tech. Hookah in the Sukkah took place under the stars while watching the hilarious comedy You Don’t
Mess with the Zohan. For Purim, GT students joined others at the Southeastern Regional Shabbaton. With Stephanie Gold on the core planning team, the Shabbaton and Purim celebrations included a thoughtful Shabbat discussion led by David Jaffe, a large scale party at the new Marcus Hillel Center and delicious Hamentashen. First-time Trips to Israel: Hillel at Georgia Tech sent 20 students on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip for their first peer-group experience of the Jewish Homeland. Highlights of trip included releasing
homing pigeons and doves on a kibbutz, signing a copy of the Declaration of Independence on the table it was originally signed at Independence Hall, and singing and dancing at sunrise on Masada after a B’nai Mitzvah. PASSOVER: For the third year in a row, Hillel at GT provided a free Kosher for Passover Meal Plan to students thanks to The Caller Family Foundation. This year, we provided more than 250 meals to students during the week of Passover. With no Kosher for Passover meal options on campus, students like Derek Podowitz were appreciative of the delicious meal and the chance to eat lunch with friends. Each day the students were provided with Jewish learning resources covering topics highlighting global Passover rituals, the reason behind certain Passover observances, and more. Additionally, community members were generous enough to open up their homes and extend invitations to their first and second Seders for those students who were unable to travel home for the holiday. SHABBAT EXPERIENCE: Studentled egalitarian kabbalat Shabbat services attracted 350 participants at Hillel and dinners throughout the year. We hosted our 5th Atlanta Metro Campus Shabbat at GA Tech in February with 90 people in attendance and delicious Kosher Chinese food. “We have a lot of pride in our GT Jewish community and its great when we can share that Shabbat ruach (spirit) with the other Atlanta Campuses” – Seth Dubin, VP of Religious Life
We also co-sponsored a Parent’s Weekend Shabbat with AEPi so that parents could share in the Shabbat experience with their children. In addition to the Shabbat experience on campus, students were able to welcome the Shabbat Bride with residents of the William Breman Jewish Home for the elderly and disabled.
SOCIAL ACTION: Philanthropy Chair Juliet Jacobson engaged students in numerous opportunities to help our community and experience the true joys of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam this year. For Juliet, it is important that Hillel students serve as a role model for peers to show how they can give back to their campus and community. Students participated in Relay for Life (where they offered a tie-dying fundraiser), participated in Earth Day where they shared information about Israel’s environmental contributions, and co-Sponsored a Gift of
Life Bone Marrow Drive with AEPi. In honor of Tu B’shvat, Jewish Arbor Day, Georgia Tech students joined the Jewish National Fund to plant trees with Trees Atlanta.
“It was the easiest way to meet lots of Jewish students on campus and I love coming every week.” – Lior Koren, Class of 2013
Hillel student leaders announce upcoming campus programming and other events city-wide. In addition, speakers are often invited to provide informal Jewish content to the weekly program. It is the single best entry point to engage students new students and keep others engaged.
IsraelFest: More than 600 people attended IsraelFest, the annual outdoor cultural festival, which promotes awareness to the Georgia Tech community that there is more to Israel beyond ‘the conflict.’ The festival featured displays which highlighted important areas and facts about Israel, resources for students to travel and study abroad in Israel, a performance by Hillels of Georgia Artists-in-Residence Israeli Hip-Hop band Axum, delicious Israeli falafel sandwiches, Bamba and Bislie, and for many, the highlight was a live camel. With high energy and a pride for Israel, students showed their support for Israel at GA Tech. BAGEL BREAK: Each week for the entire year, students come for the bagels, lox, cream cheese, and other noshes, sponsored by the Meiselman family. Bagel Break provides engagement among undergraduate and graduate students in a casual, low-key environment.
CASINO NIGHT: More than 400 Jewish and non-Jewish students participated in the Third Annual Hillel Casino Night, co-sponsored with Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) which allowed students to test their gambling skills at Poker, Black Jack, Roulette, and Craps. The event provided an opportunity for students of all backgrounds to learn about Hillel and provided a means of getting our name on campus. Winners received prizes ranging from restaurant gift certificates to Georgia Tech apparel to a Wii. Plans are already in the works for the 4th annual event which will incorporate a social action component.
Israel Speakers: Hillel partnered with a variety of organizations to provide lecturers on Campus. The Israeli National Roads Company held a workshop with Civil Engineering students to discuss the technological and environmental advances that Israel has been making in their road system. Students also participated in a provocative discussion about Religion and free speech led by Amos Guiora, Professor of Law and former IDF Commander.
Girls Night is a very special JEWISH LEARNING: Students have initiative. the opportunity to participate in amazing learning seminars. Lunch ‘N “Freshman year I met most of Learn with Rabbi Golding provides my friends through Hillel, students with a chance to explore the especially by attending Girls Night meaning behind upcoming holidays programs and I’ve built my most and get answers to questions on important and lasting friendships everyday life all while enjoying free with other Jewish girls thanks kosher pizza! to these events.” – Naomi Benveniste GIRLS NIGHT: Whether it’s a fun Girls Night Chair outing of roller skating or ice skating in Centennial Park, or a day of craft OUT AND ABOUT: It’s not always or cooking together, about learning…students like to get off campus and explore all that Atlanta has to offer. Students had fun all around the city as they enjoyed Go Karting, Whirly Ball, Laser Tag, and Trivia Night! Watch out, these Yellow Jackets are competitive!
These highlights are a glimpse into the programs we produced that allow us to enrich our important Jewish student presence on campus. We have much to celebrate and thanks to offer to the Hillel Professional staff, student leaders, and all of our supporters who made this year possible. Visit us at www.gthillel.org for more information or call Hillel at Georgia Tech’s Director of Jewish Student Life Shira Rothman at (404)963-2548 x 105. Hillel at Georgia Tech is a division of Hillels of Georgia, which is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and an affiliate of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.