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A n n u a l
R e p o r t
Inspiring students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life through community involvement and meaningful Jewish experiences. With a full year of programming in the Marcus Hillel Center, Hillel at Emory experienced significant transformation in 2010-11. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the student board, led by co-presidents Dorothy Abrams and Graeme Ossey, and the Hillel professional staff – Michael Rabkin, Mimi Hall and Daniel Reiser – Hillel had a meaningful impact on more than 1,100 Jewish students this year with a total attendance of nearly 6,500 at 250 Hillel activities.
Marcus Hillel Center Dedication Hillels of Georgia celebrated the dedication of the MHC, named in honor of Billi & Bernie Marcus, on September 26, 2010. More than 300 guests gathered to share in celebrating the occasion and extending gratitude to all the supporters and volunteers who made the vision of the Center a reality. University president James Wagner expressed his “hunch” that the facility would serve not just as an abode for Emory’s Jewish community, but also as a forum for general faith-related conversation. Wayne Firestone, Hillel’s International President said, “We send our students to college with recognition that it’s an investment in their identity and in their own community, and in doing so we know we will see a return on that investment, and we recognize that the Jewish community has something to offer the university community, with our scholars and the ruach that we will bring with a place like this.”
More than 500 Celebrate Passover at 30 Seders at Emory In its fourth year, Hillel at Emory’s Passover Initiative has created a new way to spread Passover Seders across campus. Hillel provides students with “Seder Mini-Grants” to prepare and host a Seder meal, offers Seder leadership training workshops, and provides a Seder-to-Go kit with all necessary materials. Emory students agree this innovative program is a great way for students to celebrate Passover while away from home. Two large Seders took place at the MHC. Rabbi Yaakov Fleshel of Meor at Emory led a traditional Seder, and students Ethan Stern (‘11B), Jason Stern (‘14C) and Ariel Wolpe (‘12C) led a multimedia Freedom Seder featuring live music and video.
Tritt & Oppenheimer JHealth Leadership Institute Enters Second Year The Tritt & Oppenheimer JHealth Leadership Institute continued its third year providing opportunities for pre-med and public health students through leadership training, public health advocacy, and community service, to inspire future values-driven healthcare professionals. In monthly small group meetings, the 15 JHealth fellows heard from guest speakers about their perspectives on healthcare and involvement in Jewish volunteer leadership roles. Speakers included Bruce Feinberg, founding president and CEO of Georgia Cancer Specialists; Laurence Sperling, founder and director of Preventive Cardiology at the Emory Clinic; Alan Sunshine, a gastroenterologist; and Marcy Steinberg Klehr, a nurse anesthetist and active volunteer with JHealth. The Tritt & Oppenheimer families established a restricted fund to ensure that this program continues year after year.
Global Day of Jewish Learning at Hillel Students across Atlanta gathered at the MHC for the Global Day of Jewish Learning in November. An event unprecedented in scale, the Global Day united more than 250 communities world-wide. Erica Morris (‘13C) and Ethan Sobol (‘13C) organized the day at Emory and were featured as guest teachers. Erica led a session on miracles, and Ethan taught Jewish perspectives on the environment. Michael Rabkin, Director of Hillel at Emory, led an interactive, multimedia session entitled “The Talmudic Tradition in Dialogue with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” which explored each of the biblical references in King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”
“The best part of the day was the knowledge that every one of us was connecting with the texts and each other in a deep and truly wonderful way.” - Erica Morris, VP of Education of Hillel at Emory
Salvador Dali’s “Aliyah” at the Marcus Hillel Center (MHC) at Emory An exhibit of original works by Salvador Dali, “Aliyah, the Rebirth of Israel,” opened in March 2011 at the MHC. Published in 1968 in honor of Israel’s 20th anniversary, the ‘suite’ of 25 original lithographs portrays the history of the Jewish people’s return to their homeland. The exhibit attracted a diverse audience of students, faculty and community members. Elliott King, renowned Dali expert, was the keynote speaker at the opening. Opher Aviran, the Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern U.S. also spoke at the opening. The Consulate was a primary sponsor of the exhibit along with Emory University and others. Emory Students for Israel used the opening of the Dali exhibit as part of their “Israel Peace Week” initiative at Emory. Professor David Blumenthal loaned the collection to Hillel for its first public exhibition. New Emory Student Initiative Launched for Israel Education Hillel at Emory developed an innovative six-week course called “Israel for Dummies” designed to help students become confident, effective Israel advocates on campus. A select group of 15 students studied key figures in Zionist and Israeli history, social issues in Israel, the history of the conflict, the peace process, the role of the media, issues of religion and state in Israel, and the relationship between Israel and America. Geared toward students who are just beginning to explore their relationship with
Israel, the course included TaglitBirthright Israel applicants and recent participants. The project was funded in part by the Israel on Campus Coalition’s Israel Advocacy Grant Project and supported by the AVI CHAI Foundation. Emory Students for Israel celebrate Israeli Culture at Annual iFest Hillel and ESI held a massive festival on campus in April to celebrate Israeli culture with educational booths, free Israeli food, creative t-shirts and even a live camel! Chaired by ESI Presidents Sarah Green and Gail Axelrod, iFest aimed to help students realize the diversity Israel has to offer. With the theme “Israel is Iconic,” each station highlighted a different “icon” of Israel, such as Theodore Hertzl or Henrietta Szold.
Bredow Scholars Demonstrate Excellence in Leadership Mazal tov to the 2011 Sam Bredow Memorial Scholarship recipients, who demonstrate excellence in student leadership at Emory: Leah Dodell, Michael Goldberg, Alexandra Selby and Erika Reif. Sam Bredow served as an advisor to Tau Epsilon Phi, Mu chapter, at Emory University for over 35 years. He was a friend and mentor to thousands of students at Emory. The Sam Bredow Memorial Fund was established to honor the memory of this man who gave so much to the university. Its purpose is to
of Hillel’, or FYSH program, a mentor program that matches Jewish freshman with upperclassmen based on common interests. Students went to a Braves game and on a whitewater rafting trip together and maintained their relationships throughout the year. assist Jewish students in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences in need of financial aid and who have demonstrated leadership within one or more of the recognized Jewish organizations at Emory and/or within the greater Emory community. Since 1997, there have been 64 recipients. The recipients are selected jointly by Emory University and Hillel at Emory each year with a ceremony at the MHC. Making the Connection: The Freshman Experience at Hillel Each year, Hillel improves upon annual traditions like the Hillel Bagel Brunch and Hillel BBQ to give students a taste of Jewish life at Emory. The year started on a high note with nearly 500 people at the brunch and more than 200 at the BBQ who enjoyed burgers from Goodfriend’s Grill. Erika Rief (‘13C) led all Hillel freshman programming with a team of volunteers to help new students acclimate to campus and begin their Jewish journeys at Emory. She coordinated the ‘First Year Students
Emory Students Reestablish Jewish a Cappella Group Hillel facilitated the return of Emory’s only Jewish a capella group. Under new leadership and with a new name, ChaiTunes debuted at the MHC dedication in September as they performed Shehechianu prayer to end the ceremony. Sarah Krame (‘13C) spent her freshman year laying
the groundwork and recruiting initial members of the new group with assistance from Hillel. Performing among Emory’s other a capella groups at First Fridays and at local Jewish senior centers, ChaiTunes has given students a unique opportunity to share their talents and love of Jewish music. Exploring the Jewish History of Civil Rights in Atlanta Emory students organized a tour through the heart of Atlanta to mark Black History Month. The trip included a visit to the pencil factory of Leo Frank, the Auburn
Avenue neighborhood – Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth house and burial site, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the King Center. Deborah Schlein (‘13C), who organized the tour, which was led by Billy Planer, founder of Etgar36, said she was fascinated by the struggle for Black Civil Rights and to find out that Jews held such a positive role in their struggle. “Everyone who went on this trip took away from it a sense of inspiration. Students were challenged to make the world a better place through tikkun olam, and they fully intend to do so in the footsteps of Dr. King.”- Deborah Schlein, Emory College, 2013 Emory Students Rally for Gilad Shalit To commemorate captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s 1,600th day in captivity, ESI organized a candle-light vigil on campus at Asbury Circle. Gail Axelrod (‘11B) and Sarah Green (‘11C) shared stories of Gilad’s life – his shy demeanor, his love of sports, his helping attitude, his love for his family – and led the gathering of more than 30 students in the misheberach – prayer for healing – and Hatikvah. A group of Emory students also attended the Southeast Rally for Gilad Shalit at Centennial Olympic Park.
Raising Dough for Darfur at Emory Rebecca Gittleson (‘11C) and Chelsea Platt (‘11C) have been “raising dough for Darfur” with their innovative Challah for Hunger program. Started as a grassroots initiative with students on many college campuses, Challah for Hunger has brought students together for a cause that is close to the hearts of Jews: ending a genocide and caring for survivors in need. Students bake challah and sell it at Wonderful Wednesdays. All proceeds (nearly $1,500 this year) went to the American Jewish World Service Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund and the Atlanta Refugee and Resettlement Services of Atlanta (RRISA). Their efforts culminated with the second annual French Toast Fest, a special fundraiser on the night after Passover. Students enjoyed their first leavened bread drowning in syrup while supporting an important cause.
“Children of Abraham” Makes Progress in Interfaith Dialogue Student leaders David Micley (‘11C) and Jessie Ginsberg (‘13C) brought Jewish and Muslim students together through dialogue, shared values, and social action projects through the Children of Abraham group. They hosted an Interfaith Iftar at the MHC with more than 100 Jewish and Muslim students, who dined together and discussed the theme of repentance drawn from Talmud and Koran texts. During
Sukkot, 47 students came together for the second annual interfaith “Shake and Shake” to enjoy milkshakes and experience shaking the lulav. They also participated in the national Weekend of Twinning by volunteering with teens from the Roswell Masjid and Congregation Or Hadash at “Big Trees” preservation park. With shovels in hand, they planted a tree, a symbol of their desire to grow together as a common community. “I always thought of religion as something that encompasses everything – family, faith and life. Religion is everywhere.” – David Micley (‘11C)
There is much success to celebrate about this year! These highlights are a glimpse into the hundreds of programs and initiatives Hillel at Emory produced during the year. Thanks to the student leaders, Hillel professional staff, and all of our supporters who made these activities possible so that we can continue to enrich the lives of the 2,500 Jewish students at Emory University! Visit us at www.emoryhillel.org to learn more or call Hillel at Emory Director Michael Rabkin at 404-963-2548 ext. 102. Hillel at Emory 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.
Hillel at Emory's collection of articles reflecting the 2010-2011 year