The RJ Insider's Guide to College Life Fall 2014

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Fall 2014


The RJ Insider’s Guide to COLLEGE LIFE


• Admissions Trends You Need To Know (p.27)

• Speaking Out Against Sexual Violence (p.44)

• Save $$$: Jewish Scholarships (p.35)

• The Top Schools Jews Choose (p.36)

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INSIDER’S GUIDE TOCOLLEGE LIFEPERSPECTIVE Perspective 100 A conversation with San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman What are the most essential takeaways from a college education?

College is a critical time for growth and development, and this growth should be intellectual, personal, and professional. So much of the dialogue about college today is around a false dichotomy between intellectual and professional development. These should be viewed as complementary and mutually reinforcing aspects of the college experience. For example, a student interested in international business should consider learning about specific business practices through an international internship that facilitates learning about another culture’s norms and traditions—a holistic

approach that is essential to addressing the profound geopolitical challenges we face in such areas as environmental remediation and national security.

lenges. Colonial colleges, such as Harvard and Yale, focused on the education of clergy because clergy were viewed as SDSU STUDENT SINAI COTA STUDYING ABROAD IN VENICE. essential to the welfare of colonial society (not to mention the salvation of its members). Why is addressing real-world challenges integral to a college Today, we face extraordinary chaleducation today? lenges in such areas as the environment, biomedical research, global cooperation, The university is enriched dramatiand income inequality. Bringing such cally by engaging with society’s chal-

College Guide cover photo by Jonathan Heisler, courtesy of Hillel International

College as Social Engagement

Doug ’14, New Jersey, Middle East Studies major; Sarah ’15, California, Policy Management major; Greg ’15, Connecticut, Economics major; Hannah ’15, Maryland, American Studies major



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issues into our educational and research programs enriches our intellectual life, helps us explore novel solutions, and prepares our students—who are society’s future leaders—to address these pressing challenges. At San Diego State University’s Zahn Innovation Center, for example, 38 teams of students, faculty, staff and alumni are creating startup companies and social enterprises designed to create renewable energy and water sources, enhance vehicle safety, reduce homelessness, and more.

San Diego State University is also a leader in study abroad programs. Why is international study so vital?

Today, every problem, every issue, every professional role involves global issues. Medicine—consider the impact of migration and transport of goods on the spread of infectious diseases. Social work—consider the differences in sociocultural contexts facing migrants from Africa, Central America, and Asia. International perspectives are necessities. My goal is for every San Diego State student to have an international experience.


t the University of Central Florida, you can cheer on a top ten football team, choose from one of over 100 majors, score a fantastic Orlando-area internship and make Jewish friends you’ll have for life.


Central Florida Hillel, located at UCF’s NorthView student apartments, is a hot spot for 6,000 Jewish university students. Students living in these luxury apartments have the opportunity to connect with Jewish culture through exciting programs, student organizations and the only “Google-inspired” Hillel in the country.

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How should a university handle the complex freedom of speech issues arising in response to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict?

The popular conception of the role universities should play in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict is extremely problematic and, quite frankly, a nightmare for universities. There are three facets of this conception that produce significant challenges. In this context, the most important thing a university president can do to promote civil dialogue is to help members of the community understand the fallacies underlying these popular conceptions, as well as the appropriate role the university can play. The first conception is that universities have a responsibility for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This often translates to efforts to bring Jewish and Muslim students or scholars together on campus. I strongly support efforts to integrate the rich diversity of our campuses, but it is not fair to any of the participants to tie such initiatives to a resolution of a conflict that has baffled the greatest diplomats and most powerful leaders of our time. The second, related conception is that the university as an institution should be taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this view, one side is good, the other is evil, and the university should be using its resources to support what is good and punish what is evil. This conception ignores the fact that it is not the role of the university to take sides in geopolitical conflicts. Instead, universities can, and should, create conditions that allow for discussion and analysis of global conflicts. The third conception follows closely upon the second: Given that one side is good and the other is evil, the university has the moral responsibility to suppress the speech of the evil side, which includes cancelling lectures, denying academic credit, and being inhospitable to scholars and students who hold opposing views. This view is not only wrong—free speech is essential to the health of an academic community and, if we err, we should err on the side of protecting speech—it is wrong-headed. If one side is patently wrong, it is to the other side’s advantage to let the weakness of the opposing argument be made clear to all. ➢

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“Northeastern’s Jewish community is vibrant and welcoming. And with so many schools and organizations nearby, you form countless connections in Boston and beyond.” —Anna Meyers, senior, a Jewish studies major, president of Hillel, and a former co-op as Hillel’s Jewish student life coordinator

SCHOLARSHIP, COMMUNITY, HERITAGE At Northeastern, you’ll delve into enriching Jewish studies, matched with curriculum-based work, research, and volunteer opportunities in Boston, Israel, and all over the world. And—with weekly bagel brunches at Hillel House, transformative birthright trips, and the annual Jews Cruise—you’ll enjoy a dynamic community that students call “a Jewish home away from home.”

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Universities should promote the study of geopolitical issues and provide forums for discussion of a variety of perspectives, but they should not take sides on, suppress speech about, or be expected to solve geopolitical conflicts. You are a former associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition. What insights can you share about the best way for students to integrate learning?

I’ll mention two things. First, from a psychological perspective, the key to learning is making meaningful connections between the things you know and the things you are trying to learn. For example, one can understand and retain a physics concept such as conservation of momentum by examining how it affects outcomes in a game of pool. Second, from a physiological perspective, students need to do everything possible to maintain underlying brain functioning. Proper maintenance includes sufficient sleep, good nutrition, emotional balance, and limited use of

substances such as alcohol and other drugs that impair learning capacity. How has Judaism influenced you personally and professionally?

Following in Jewish tradition, I’ll answer a question with a question by saying, “In what way have Jewish values not influenced the work I do”? There are obvious aspects, which include a focus on social responsibility, an inclination to use scholarly analysis to solve practical problems, and an understanding of the challenges facing minority groups. More subtly, and something I have only come to recognize over time, has been the influence of the rabbinic leadership of my youth on my own leadership style. I was raised in a Reform congregation, Anshe Emeth Congregation in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Rabbi Harvey Fields was the congregation’s leader during much of my childhood. Recently Rabbi Fields passed away, and as I read his obituary in the Los Angeles Times, I was at first surprised to see the close parallels between his leadership style and

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my own. Of course, it could not have been any other way, since he was, in fact, the only public leader I knew as a child. It’s a great example of the old saying that “a teacher affects eternity,” and a reminder of how important the rabbinic tradition is to Jewish and secular culture. —Elliot Hirshman, President, San Diego State University

Core Contacts


he RJ Insider’s Guide to College Life is a collaborative project of Reform Judaism magazine and Hillel International. To read the digital edition: To learn about Reform college programs: For Reform Israel college programs, call 212-650-4070 or visit For more information, access Hillel’s College Guide ( guide), which provides numbers and percentages of Jewish students, descriptions of Jewish life, links to Hillels, and more.

Stay Local or Go Global Located midway between New York City and Boston and just 8 miles north of New Haven, unlimited options for culture, work and play await. Or take advantage of our opportunities to study abroad at places like Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Haifa University.

We’ve got class Small classes, a focus on academic excellence, plus top rankings in U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek Top Undergraduate Business Schools, Forbes and the Princeton Review’s Best 378. Just a few of the reasons to make Quinnipiac University your education destination.

jewish life: A Campus Tradition The Peter C. Hereld House for Jewish Life provides a full-time rabbinical presence and offers Shabbat dinners, special holiday parties, services and more. It is the perfect place to meet new friends and celebrate old traditions. To learn more, contact Rabbi Reena Judd at

ARTs AND SCIENCEs | Business | Communications | Education | ENGINEERINg | Health Sciences | Law | medicine | Nursing

Quinnipiac offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 20 graduate programs to 6,500 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. Classes are kept small and taught by outstanding faculty in state-of-the-art facilities. Plus our expanded 600-acre, three campus suburban residential setting with modern housing, vibrant recreation and Division I athletics makes for a unique and dynamic university. Plan a campus visit:, email or call 1-800-462-1944.

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Getting In: What Experts Say Every year approximately

What are the most important trends in college admissions that students need to be aware of?


Jewish students are enrolled at the University of Vermont

Wendy Kahn, Wendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC, Highland Park, Illinois (UCLA College Consulting Certificate, HECA*, IECA Associate Member):

UVM Hillel is the only Jewish college organization large enough to engage the majority of Jewish students

1. Colleges’ use of “Big Data” to track demonstrated interest: It’s no secret that in making admissions decisions, colleges value applicants who FRESHFEST PRE-ORIENTATION, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY HILLEL. have “demonstrated interest”—students who visit the campus, all this, you’ll learn more about what’s attend the college’s local reception, happening on campus. and/or meet with an admissions rep at 2. Colleges’ use of FAFSA data the student’s high school. In contrast, against applicants: Some colleges are students whose applications are the first using data included on the FAFSA, the point of contact with a college—sofederal application for need-based financalled “stealth candidates”—are often cial aid, to deny admission to applicants unpleasantly surprised to be waitlisted and reduce their financial aid awards. or denied by a school that should have The culprit is the FAFSA section that been a safe bet. asks students to list the names of up to 10 Now, colleges have a new arrow in colleges to which they’ll apply. The feds their “demonstrated interest” quiver: Big share all FAFSA information with the Data. College admissions offices nationlisted colleges, and the schools have diswide buy students’ names and informacovered that the order in which a student tion from such organizations as the Collists institutions typically corresponds to lege Board and ACT, then e-mail students that student’s preferences: the further and track their responses. They can tell if down the list a college’s name appears, a student doesn’t open the email or folthe less appealing it is to the student, and lows a link included in it. Colleges are the less likely he or she is to attend. Some also using special software to track colleges—especially those that care most whether their institution appears on a stu- about “yield,” the percentage of accepted dent’s list on the Common Application. students who enroll—are using this These colleges will assign you “points” * Key to Consultant Organizations based on Big Data interactivity. HECA: Higher Education Consultants Knowing this, you can use Big Data Association to your advantage. Place a college on IECA: Independent Educational Consultants your list on the Common App to demAssociation NACAC: National Association for College onstrate your interest, and then be sure Admission Counseling to respond to the school’s emails. Also NJACAC: New Jersey Association for College “like” a college’s official Facebook Admission Counseling WACAC: Wisconsin Association for College page, follow it on Twitter, or Tweet Admission Counseling about it yourself. As a bonus, as you do reform judaism

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UVM Hillel Develops Leaders


of students have indicated a desire to repair the world with Hillel

834 students this past year went kayaking for taschlich, ice climbing with Heschel, celebrated Jewish holidays and connected their personal and Jewish identity in a deeply meaningful way with UVM Hillel


UVM students have gone to Israel with Hillel in the past year

Commitment to Jewish Life of the students we impact say

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to them after graduation

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information against applicants. If a college is low on a student’s list, the college may figure s/he is unlikely to enroll and so may waitlist or deny acceptance. Conversely, if a school is high on the applicant’s list, the college may figure s/he will enroll no matter what and offer a weak financial aid package. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid the problem: List your colleges in alphabetical order, not in preferred order. 3. Increased importance of SAT and ACT in the admissions process: High school teachers have been under increasing pressure from school administrators and parents to grade leniently—give out the “easy A.” As grading standards become less reliable, college admissions officers depend on standardized test results to validate the student’s transcript. Still, the most important elements of an application are strong grades achieved within a challenging curriculum. Beyond that, colleges will look for essays that help them understand who you are, evidence of your engagement outside the classroom, and recommendations that show your potential to succeed on campus. 4. The ascent of the angular applicant: Highly selective colleges—those accepting fewer than 20% of applicants—used to look for “well-rounded” students, such as the Key Club officer who was also a member of the golf team and first-chair cellist in the school orchestra. Today, however, admissions officers at the most selective schools aim to build well-rounded classes by populating them with “angular” applicants— those who excel academically and demonstrate deep expertise, achievement, or talent in one or two areas, often at a regional, state, national, or even international level. Examples include applicants who have launched successful businesses, founded charities, conducted research and published papers in scholarly journals, or won significant academic or fine arts competitions. Beyond these select schools, well-rounded applicants are still prized, so long as they demonstrate consistent and meaningful involvement in several outside activities. Knowing your profile from the perspective of different schools can help you target the ones that will most value what you have to offer.

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Gael Casner, College Find, Greenbrae, California (UC Berkeley Certificate in College Admissions and Career Planning, creator of “College Find Newsletter,” HECA president 2013–14, NACAC*, WACAC): Admissions trends impor-

tant to keep in mind include: 1. The overall “yield rate”—the percentage of accepted students who send in a deposit, thereby committing to attend that college—is dropping at many schools. Despite the nuanced formula colleges use to predict their yield, it is becoming increasingly hard to know who will commit. Consequently, colleges pay particular attention to students who display genuine interest in their school. This is good news—as you will increase your chances of being accepted—if you’re willing to “go the extra mile.” Use research and then reflect on how and why a college would be a good fit. Specifically, name and describe two courses you’d like to take and list at least one club, extracurricular, or community service activity you’d explore if you attend that college. Be specific: Why do these courses, professors, and activities appeal to you? Communicate these enthusiasms to college officials so they can gauge your impact in and out of the classroom. Try to visit and connect with a college’s regional representative via email and by interview if offered. 2. Very selective colleges are admitting larger numbers of students who apply early decision (ED) and agree to attend that school if selected. ED often gives students an advantage. As The New York Times reported in May 2013, Duke accepted 26.6% of students who applied ED, compared to just 10% who applied regular decision; at Brown it was 18.5% ED vs. 8% regular decision. Not all U.S. colleges offer an ED option. Of those that do, the overall acceptance rate in 2013 was 62%, versus 52% regular decision. So consider applying early decision to the school that holds the top spot in your lineup. 3. An increase in Early Action (EA) applications, an option whereby a student receives a decision in advance of a school’s regular reply date but without the obligation to accept until May 1. Not all U.S. colleges offer EA either, but if

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your school does, this is a good choice, because your chances of acceptance are better (71% EA verses 63% regular for all U.S. schools offering EA), and because it relieves stress to receive an acceptance early in the process. So if your ninth through eleventh grade transcript looks strong and your ACT/SAT tests are solid, plan to complete your EA applications by late October or early November. This will require you to work on essays over the summer before your senior year, define your list of schools in early fall, complete applications as they become available (often in August), and give your teachers at least a month to submit their materials. 4. Colleges are shifting more students to their waitlist, yet selecting fewer of them in the end. So don’t put your hopes on getting accepted from the waitlist of your dream school; choose a school that wants you on campus. Carolyn P. Mulligan, Insiders Network to College, Summit, New Jersey; Board of Counselor CATS for the University of Arizona (IECA*, NACAC, NJACAC, HECA): Two


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significant admissions trends are: 1. The increasing importance of student responses to the supplemental essays: Admissions representatives say that essay specialists and tutors have so influenced students’ primary Common Application essays, they are no longer in a student’s “authentic voice” and a good representation of each student. Therefore, smaller supplemental essays present an opportunity for students to showcase their strengths and passions to admissions committee representatives while simultaneously describing why a given school is the right fit for them. 2. The increasing number of international candidates: Students from China, Korea, India, Pakistan, and now Brazil are competing with Americans for the same spots—and making the process significantly more competitive because all foreign students pay the full price. More than 102,000 international students applied for undergraduate enrollment in 2012–13, vs. 84,500 in 2011–12, a 12% increase (Institute of International Education). To compete, keep your grades in the top 5–10% of your class, take the

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Gael Casner: Imagine the excitement of receiving a fat acceptance envelope from one of your top schools, only to discover you’ve been asked to begin in the spring. This growing trend of spring matriculation is a means for colleges to fill the extra beds made empty by typical attrition as well as the increasing number of students studying abroad part-way through the school year. (It’s also used to better control the admission statistics reported to US News and World Report and the College Board since only fall cohort statistics are required.) At some schools you’ll be asked to check a box on the application indicating whether you would consider a spring option; in other cases you will be assigned the spring date. Currently, no central resource lists all of the colleges offering spring admission, so your best bet is to check each school’s website or ask the admissions office if spring matriculation is an option and how many students begin at that time of year. Although rare, a few colleges, such as Northeastern and Skidmore, offer a fall study abroad program, a good option if you are set on beginning in the fall. Another campus trend: STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and math) in such areas as bioengineering, biometrics, cyber security, health informatics, environmental sustainability, and computer game design are hot, hot, hot and growing. The word is out that graduates in these areas earn good money (see for listings of average and mid-level earnings), making STEM majors very competitive, especially at top schools, where it takes more than good grades to be accepted. Students who aspire to attend these selective programs need to strategize how to build the school’s interest through internships, research, and/or advanced coursework.

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What are the most notable trends in college offerings?

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When does emphasizing your Jewish identity and activities become a plus on a college application?

Wendy Kahn: To decide whether to make a Jewish story the subject of a col-

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New York University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution.

most rigorous high school courses you can, and show passion and persistence in your extracurricular interests.


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lege essay, ask yourself the same question you would in deciding whether to showcase any other component of your identity: Will this story give a group of strangers a small “snapshot” of who I am and how I became that person? If a meaningful, transformative experience happened to you in Talmud class, while preparing for Shabbat at Jewish summer camp, or during a visit to Yad Vashem, it’s a fitting subject for a college essay. That said, avoid controversial, potentially inflammatory topics, such as how borders should be decided between Israel

and a Palestinian state. You don’t know the religion, politics, or life experiences of the person sitting on the other side of that computer screen, and you want him or her to be in your corner. Heath Einstein (Director of Freshman Admission, Texas Christian University; Former Director of College Counseling, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester):

The college application is the tool with which students distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace. There-

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fore, emphasis on one’s Jewish identity will have its greatest effect on applications to colleges with smaller Jewish communities that are seeking students who are likely to lead services, organize pro-Israel rallies, participate in youth groups, and pursue other Jewish activities on campus. At schools with established Jewish communities, these qualities carry no more or no less weight in the admissions process than playing a varsity sport, serving food at a homeless shelter, or performing in school musicals. What are the possibilities for students and parents for whom the high costs of college present a formidable challenge?

Heath Einstein: Here is some advice for prospective students: 1. Apply to at least one college to which you know you will be admitted and that you can afford. 2. Apply to colleges that offer attractive financial aid packages—those which maximize federal and institutional grants (gift aid that is not repaid) and minimize loans (money that ultimately needs to be repaid). Colleges have discretion over their own monies and distribute federal funds such as Pell grants. Since few financial aid packages do not have a loan component, seek out subsidized loans (where interest does not begin accruing until after graduation) before unsubsidized ones, and pay close attention to loan interest rates. 3. Apply to colleges that incentivize enrollment with merit scholarship programs and at which your grades and test scores exceed the profile of the average admitted student. 4. Utilize the net-price calculator every college is required by law to have on its web site. Before you ever submit an application you can get a sense of what it would cost you to attend after factoring in scholarship and financial aid. 5. Consider enrolling in online coursework or attending a community college to satisfy a college’s general education requirements (such as English composition or Psychology), which, much like coming in with Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits, may reduce the number of semesters you continued on page 42

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Creating Your College Admissions Squad


pplying for college marked the start of my future—a future I wanted to succeed at all on my own. But the moment I opened my first application, I felt overwhelmed. There were FRIENDS IN MY “ADMISSIONS SQUAD.� I AM ON THE FAR LEFT. endless questions I had passed, and still nothing. no idea how to answer. I decided to put Finally, I had to concede: I needed my the application aside. parents’ help. I was too anxious to do this A month passed and I’d barely alone. Taking what I felt was an adult touched the application. When my parents expressed concern, I promised them step, I set up a formal meeting with them to discuss the application. that I’d make significant progress on Soon I realized much more was at it that coming week—but two weeks

stake than this single application. I wanted to choose the right schools for me, get in, maintain good grades, and continue being northern membership vice president of NFTY’s Mid-Atlantic region. It dawned upon me that Jewish values could help me succeed. Judaism teaches about the role of a kehilla—a community of people with a shared goal and purpose. I could build my own kehilla to guide me through the applications process. My Guidance Counselor

My high school guidance counselor was a natural choice for my kehilla. She went right to work laying out the pros and cons of each school I was considering. She also helped me make an applications checklist which we transferred continued on page 41


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Acing Your Application to the Ivies


o, you want to get into an Ivy League school? If you’ve got high SAT scores and top grades, that’s a necessary step in the right direction—but it’s not enough. The competition is fierce; the rejection rate at the Ivies exceeds 85%. Your application needs to stand out among the 20–35,000 thousand applications each top-ranked college receives. Here are 5 insider tips to make a compelling impression on your application:

the difficulty, questions a community service that had been there project he’d initiated. for years have just He took the time to been eliminated; only submit a supplemenone short main essay tal award sheet to and very few short describe the project answer questions were that led to this honor retained. If you want to as well as other be known by the colawards he had won. lege of your dreams, Ultimately he was take advantage of admitted to his first college supplemental choice school. essay questions to add An additional note a short extra essay or can also help address Don’t feel limited by the constraints include a note about a a college’s potential special circumstance, of the Common Application. concern about you as PRINCETON UNIVERSITY explaining what makes an applicant. For Colleges look for in-depth information you the unique individual you are. example, another one of my students about you, but often have too little to go One student I worked with had was suspended for a relatively minor on because of the limitations imposed by the Common Application. Compounding received a high-level national award for infraction. Recognizing that the colleges he was applying to would likely have imagined the offense to be much more serious than it was, he took the time to explain the circumstances and his peripheral involvement in the incident—and was accepted to his firstJewish Cuba: La Habana choice college as well. November 11 – November 17, 2014 6 days/5 nights from $3,069 - Limited to 20 Choose a smart essay topic. Reservation Deadline: October 1 Don’t pick a clichéd subject, such Enjoy a rare voyage of cultural discovery and as your last minute game-saving goal humanitarian effort in support of the or how you had no trouble adapting to Jewish Cuban Community. living in Spain during your year-abroad Classic Havana program. Instead, focus on you—your February 15 – 21, 2015 academic strengths and accomplish7 days/6 nights from $3,189 - Limited to 16 ments—and be sure to back these up Reservation Deadline: October 14 with specific examples. For instance, Experience the beautiful Cuban countryside, another student wrote about the joy traditional art, music and dance, and connect with in translating a difficult Latin passage Cuba’s vibrant Jewish Community. from the Aeneid, and was accepted to her top school. For more trips, tour information and reservations, Ultimately, your main essay is your visit - 305-846-6577 chance to prove that you are serious about scholarship. So if you study many Terms and conditions apply. Trips under hours a day to master a particular subthe license of Creative Travel, Inc. ject or do substantive work/projects Licensed by the U.S. Dept. of the outside of school, say so on your appliTreasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (CT-2013-302713-1) cation; otherwise, no one will know. continued on page 51


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Admissions 103: College Cash 1 Scholarships & Grants The JVS Scholarship Loan Program of the Jewish Vocational Service Agency offers interest-free, need-based loans up to $5,000/ year to Jewish residents of MetroWest New Jersey. The JCCs of North America Graduate Scholarship Program offers full-time students pursuing a master’s degree in select subjects up to $20,000 if they agree to work for two years at a JCC after graduation. The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation offers $800–$10,000 need-based scholarships to students of all faiths primarily from the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Jewish Social Service Agency offers $2,500–$6,000 scholarships and interest-free loans to Jewish residents of Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia.

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America offers $1,000–$1,500 grants to high school seniors who are direct descendants of members. The Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service (a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh administered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service) offers $500–$3,000 need-based scholarships to Western Pennsylvania residents. The Jewish Family Service Association offers need-based grants and loans of up to $4,000/ year to Jewish residents in Greater Cleveland. The Jewish Vocational Service of Los Angeles offers need-based scholarships of $2,000–$5,000/ year to Jewish residents of California’s Los Angeles County. The Jewish Children’s Regional Service offers $2,000 grants and

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no-interest loans on average per academic year to Jewish undergraduates whose families reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

2 Lower Cost Loans The Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF) provides interest-free, need-based “last-dollar” loans to Jewish students from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.* Member organizations of the International Association of Jewish Free Loans offer interest-free, need-based loans. Editor’s Note: For more scholarship, grant, and loan sources, check with the major Jewish organizations in your local community, among them the Jewish Information and Referral Service and the National Council of Jewish Women.

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INSIDER’S GUIDE TOCOLLEGE LIFEADMISSIONS Admissions 104 & 105: The Top 60 Schools Jews Choose* PRIVATE SCHOOLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Jewish % of Population Student (Undergrad) Population

New York University (New York, NY) Boston University (Boston, MA) Yeshiva University (New York, NY) Columbia University (New York, NY) George Washington University (Washington, DC) Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY) Tulane University (New Orleans, LA) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) American University (Washington, DC) Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) Yale University (New Haven, CT) Washington University (St. Louis, MO) University of Hartford (West Hartford, CT) Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY) Tufts University (Medford, MA) Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus (Brooklyn, NY) Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) Northeastern University (Boston, MA) Brown University (Providence, RI) University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) University of Chicago (Chicago, IL) Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) DePaul University (Chicago, IL)

Jewish Studies Courses

Jewish Studies Major

JAFI/Hillel Israel Fellows

6,000 4,500 3,080 3,000 3,000 3,000 2,500 2,500 2,250 2,100 2,000 1,750 1,680 1,600 1,600 1,600 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,350 1,250 1,200 1,050 1,000 1,000 900 900 850 850 800

28% 28% 96% 30% 29% 23% 25% 19% 32% 30% 11% 50% 25% 15% 23% 20% 27% 25% 33% 18% 25% 22% 16% 7% 17% 20% 7% 16% 29% 4%

70 65 138 25 30 46 50 20 50 61 14 60 40 15 25 35 50 60 20 14 25 0 35 38 30 8 5 30 23 10

Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No

No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No No No No No Yes No Yes

6,500 6,400 6,000 5,800 5,000 4,500 4,200 4,010 4,000 4,000 4,000 3,600 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,250 3,250 3,220 3,200 3,000 3,000 3,000 2,750 2,600 2,600 2,600 2,500 2,500

17% 16% 10% 22% 13% 18% 14% 26% 13% 8% 10% 6% 27% 10% 27% 25% 13% 10% 10% 10% 7% 6% 10% 8% 14% 9% 7% 17% 10% 14%

77 50 15 40 80 120 60 46 75 30 14 40 20 100 43 30 15 61 45 30 100 62 25 25 40 50 12 32 23 75

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes

PUBLIC SCHOOLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) Rutgers University, New Brunswick (New Brunswick, NJ) University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL) University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD) Pennsylvania State University, University Park (University Park, PA) University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) Queens College (Flushing, NY) University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI) University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX) California State University, Northridge (Northridge, CA) Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) University at Albany (Albany, NY) McGill University (Montreal, QC) CUNY, Brooklyn College (Brooklyn, NY) Binghamton University (Vestal, NY) Florida International University (Miami, FL) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL) University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ) Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) York University (Toronto, ON) University of Western Ontario (London, ON) Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA) University of California, Davis (Davis, CA) University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA)

* NOTES: Estimated population figures and other campus information are self-reported by local Hillels. Contact Hillel International: 202-449-6500, Col_TopCharts_f14_F.indd 36

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& the Top 25 By Percentage of Jews* Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Reform Groups/ Events Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes No N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes

Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes

top 25 schools by percentage of jews

1 Jewish Theological Seminary of America 200 Jewish Students, 100%

2 Yeshiva University 3,080 Jewish Students, 96%

3 American Jewish University 110 Jewish Students, 92%

4 Brandeis University 1,750 Jewish Students, 50%

5 Muhlenberg College 750 Jewish Students, 35%

6 University of Hartford


1,500 Jewish Students, 33%

7 Barnard College 770 Jewish Students, 33%

8 Sarah Lawrence College 400 Jewish Students, 33%

9 Tulane University 2,250 Jewish Students, 32%

10 Columbia University 3,000 Jewish Students, 30% Courtesy of Rebuilding Together New Orleans

Student Reform Engagement Worship Interns on Campus

11 Emory University 2,100 Jewish Students, 30%

12 Goucher College 450 Jewish Students, 30%


3,000 Jewish Students, 29%

14 Oberlin College 850 Jewish Students, 29%

15 New York University 6,000 Jewish Students, 28%

16 Boston University 4,500 Jewish Students, 28%

17 Yale University 1,500 Jewish Students, 27%

18 CUNY, Brooklyn College 3,500 Jewish Students, 27%

19 University at Albany 3,500 Jewish Students, 27%

20 Queens College 4,012 Jewish Students, 26%

21 University of Pennsylvania 2,500 Jewish Students, 25%

22 Harvard University 1,675 Jewish Students, 25%

23 Washington University 1,500 Jewish Students, 25%


1,250 Jewish Students, 25%

25 Wesleyan University 680 Jewish Students, 25%

For Reform college programs: N/A means information was not made available to Reform Judaism magazine.

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The Top 7 Hillels You Haven’t Heard Of*


1 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (CHARLESTON, SC): Hillel is one of the largest and most active student organizations at the college Is uniquely located in the Jewish Studies Center where students take academic courses, giving Hillel participants increased opportunities to interact with and learn from Jewish Studies professors


2 DUKE UNIVERSITY (DURHAM, NC): Offers the Jewish First-Year Advisory Mentor Program (JFAM), in which upperclass peers invite incoming students to chat about campus life and Jewish life during Welcome Week Partners with Duke Career Center to integrate students’ interest in Judaism and/or Israel into potential career decisions All programming is open to both undergraduate and graduate students

3 ELON UNIVERSITY (ELON, NC): Engages more than 70% of firstyear Jewish students in Jewish life on campus 350+ students regularly spend time at Hillel Indoor and outdoor kosher kitchens

4 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, BOULDER (BOULDER, CO): Offers multiple ongoing outdoor programs, including a rock climbing group Hosts an annual Hillel ski retreat weekend With an Israeli director and an Israeli chef in the kitchen, every Shabbat dinner features fresh Israeli cuisine

5 UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE (NEWARK, DE): 70 students celebrate Shabbat weekly 6 campus Jewish student groups, including the a cappella group The ChaiNamics and the community service group Project Change

6 UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND (KINGSTON, RI): 5,000square-foot Hillel facility in the heart of the university’s residence hall area Offers diverse experiences, from partnering with various multicultural groups on campus to arranging fishing trips for URI’s beachand oceanfocused student body Awards four annual scholarships to students who make an impact on Jewish life on campus

7 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (SEATTLE, WA): Conducts 30+ programs each month Reaches 2,500+ young people per year Offers leadership development, women’s programming, service trips, a fitness center, a garden, and more

* Hillel International has selected the above campuses, listed in alphabetical order, based on these five criteria: innovative Jewish programming, a growing Jewish population, a dedicated professional leader, demonstrated university support, and a commitment to serve Jews of all backgrounds. To learn more about these and other dynamic campuses, visit


illel’s College Guide ( guide) can help you select the right Jewish campus environment for you. As you identify your top schools, check out their listings in the College Guide, where you’ll learn about the Jewish opportunities each campus offers. To determine the depth of

Col_7HillelsChart_f14a_F.indd 38

Jewish experience, keep these criteria in mind: Hillel: Not all schools have one; see if the schools you’re considering do. Rabbi or Jewish Educator: Is there a professional on campus to help students explore Jewish learning? Jewish Studies: Does the campus offer Jewish studies courses, or a

major or minor? Israel Fellow: Is there an Israel Fellow on campus to introduce students to Israel and help them develop personal relationships with Israelis? Awards: Has the Hillel been recognized for excellent work? Israel Travel: Does the school offer a Taglit-Birthright Israel opportunity?

Courtesy of Elon Universit y


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Mastering Rejection

Get a head start on your college experience Brotherhood Help with move-in Campus Tours Freshman Advice Jewish Identity Networking Campus Involvement Join a chapter:

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egardless ( of how Or you can travel smart, hardto Jewish communiworking, ties around the world or talented (, as we are, every one of did Suzy Lee Weiss, us faces rejection at one the most famous time or another. What young Jewish college matters is how we reject of 2013, as deal with it. featured on the Today If you didn’t get Show. Being proacinto your first choice tive will make you school—and maybe a stronger candidate not your second or and prove—to yourBETTER TO FACE REJECTION HEAD-ON. third either—it’s okay self and others— to spend some time feeling a bit low. that you are the kind of person who is It happened to me. I cried in my willing to put in the work to achieve history classroom after I was “denied” your goals. by my first and second choice schools. When you’re ready, reapply either My teacher, Mr. Sokolow, offered after a gap year or as a transfer student some wisdom that has remained with both to the schools that rejected you me ever since: “Do the best you can and those you might not have considwith what you have.” ered the first time around. Recently I found out that he was You may still get rejected. What you quoting the former world heavyweight also need to know is that a rejection boxing champion Joe Louis. Boxers letter is not a judgment of your worth. know that going into the ring means I learned that lesson the hard way they’re going to have to take some in my 20s. Wanting to publish fiction, blows. Painful as it may be, that is what I sent a story to the venerable New we often have to do to achieve our most Yorker magazine. When I received a cherished goals in life. standard rejection letter, I concluded So, if you don’t get into your top that I wasn’t a good writer. I didn’t choice schools, don’t give up. Do what know then that most New Yorker stories you can to improve your chances. are submitted by literary agents—very, Take a summer school course to very few are taken from their “slush show that you really can get an A in pile” of blind submissions—and that Biology. Secure a summer internship many other magazines publish stories in your area of interest and have a by unknown writers who do not have mentor write about your abilities. Con- agents. I’m embarrassed to say that for sider going on a gap year program— 10 years, I wrote stories but did not many of them offer scholarships. You submit them anywhere for fear of can experience an Israel program rejection. Finally, while taking writing organized by the Reform Movement classes, I met other writers who helped such as Netzer Year (, me understand that a rejection letter or a “secular yeshiva” where you can from The New Yorker was not a rejecstudy Jewish texts without being oblition of me or my work, but a reality gated to partake in religious obsercheck—countless talented writers are vance. You can learn and do volunteer vying for a few spots in the nation’s top work in Israel in a pluralistic setting magazines. Even now, after having had fall 2014

7/16/14 11:08 AM

Admissions Squad continued from page 33 onto a calendar, enabling me to record and review the due dates for every application and when I would work on each. My Family Friends

Family friends whose sons had succeeded in getting into schools of their choice were really helpful, too. I turned in all applications a month before their due dates on advice from a friend who said this would demonstrate to admissions officers that I had a good work ethic. The best tip I received was to develop a personal relationship with an admissions counselor at each school I applied to, which would make it more likely that s/ he would fight for me. As a result, I called and emailed each college I was considering, asking specific questions about the school, including what admissions officers were seeking in an applicant. This advice paid off. After receiving news that I’d been deferred from one of my top choices, I emailed a thank-you note to the admissions counselor with many pieces published, including in The New York Times online, I still get numerous rejections for every piece that’s accepted. But that’s okay now, because I know the odds. One more thing. Whenever I get a rejection letter, I think of Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav’s words: “Jews, it is forbidden to despair.” When life deals you a blow, get up, dust yourself off, and recalculate your next move. Remember that “do the best you can with what you have” advice, while still striving to improve. Here’s the big lesson: Try to make rejection your friend. It can be a catalyst to rethinking and clarifying your goals and opening up your mind to new options. You may end up being extremely happy at one of the colleges you have gotten into, as I eventually did. One day you may even look back and be grateful for that college rejection which led your life in a great new direction.

whom I had a relationship and asked her what I could do to strengthen my application before it was reviewed a second time. She explained that I’d been deferred because of low SAT scores (as I am not a good test taker), and suggested I add additional academic achievements and leadership roles to the resume submitted with my application, which I did. She also wrote a note on the application I submitted saying this college was one of my top choices. In part because of her help, I was admitted to the school the second time around. My Friends

My friends were also tackling the applications process, so I would have been a fool not to include them in my kehilla. We’d discuss the meaning of certain Common App questions, bounce essay ideas off one another, critique each other’s drafts, and calm one another down. I’d get particularly stressed when I couldn’t think of a good essay topic or express what I really wanted to say. Hanging out, catching up, and relaxing with my kehilla friends usually helped clear my mind and

return to the application refreshed and ready to overcome obstacles. Meanwhile, I was helping them out, too. My Parents

Each week for an hour or two, I met with my parents to share my school preferences and listen to their perspectives. Often this process caused me to weigh something I hadn’t thought of before, such as my dad’s remark that many college graduates end up living in the area of their school, which prompted me to give more thought to college location. Together we also considered whether or not to revisit certain schools. In addition, my parents commented on my essays, which at first was hard to take, but eventually I realized the value of their advice. My admissions kehilla helped get me where I am today—on my way to the school of my choice. —Blake Dickler, member, Har Sinai Congregation, Owings Mills, MD; outgoing northern membership vice president, NFTY-MAR; and incoming freshman, Ithaca College

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COLLEGEMARKETPLACE Getting In continued from page 32

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spend on campus. For students who cannot afford a traditional college experience, online courses have become an acceptable alternative; fewer employers balk at that path. Nevertheless, there is nothing technology can do to replace the experience of living in residence halls, sharing pizza with roommates at 2:00 am, and spending untold hours in the library with classmates preparing for a final exam. This is a special time in a young person’s life, and students should do everything in their power not to forego this coming-of-age event.

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entered college on the eve of the SlutWalk revolution. A 12-year-old girl had been repeatedly assaulted in Texas, and the newspaper reporting on it cited a possible motive: she was wearing makeup. A police officer in Toronto told women to stop dressing like sluts to avoid being sexually assaulted. While I grappled with how to refuse boys lining the sweatinfused walls of college parties, women around the world began mobilizing, dressing and acting exactly as they chose and protesting discrimination against women in the justice system. Our mothers invented the Take Back the Night rallies; SlutWalk became a rallying cry of women of my generation fighting back against sexual violence. Other, similar campaigns would follow. I’d seen “slut-shaming” in my high school—girls in my class bullied and teased for hooking up with the wrong person, or too many people, or for dressing in so-called promiscuous ways. Somehow it was easy to dismiss this disturbing behavior towards my high school peers. I made excuses for it—after all, these were kids I’d known practically all my life, they didn’t mean any harm. But when I started college, I began to feel its effects personally. At parties, boys grabbed us from behind on the dance floor. Without a word spoken, they’d spin us around by our waists and stick their beer-and-punch-coated tongues down our throats. The rules were no-win: If you didn’t want to make out or go home with the guy, you were no fun, and if you did or went home too often, you were a slut. As I grappled with how to negotiate the social scene, friends told me stories of saying “no” but still being forced to have sex against their will—as a horrific reform judaism

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physical extension of the unconsenting experiences I was having on the dance floor. Men on campus felt entitled to my body, our bodies, regardless of what we said or felt. I also heard stories of how my college mishandled sexual misconduct cases. Those who reported incidents recounted how they faced questions about what they were wearing and whether they were drinking, as if they were to blame. Students who filed complaints against their assailants met with slow, minimal responses from the college’s disciplinary hearing apparatus and were not receiving the school support services they needed and were entitled to under federal Title IX laws. I wanted to take action, against both the sexual violence and the administration’s and many students’ apathetic unresponsiveness. I’d grown up in a Reform Jewish household where standing up against injustice—including sexual inequality—was imparted to me as a central tenet of our faith. But I wasn’t quite sure how I could address a problem of this magnitude. The summer after my sophomore year, I interned for the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism’s Machon Kaplan social justice and Judaism program ( in Washington, DC. In this new Reform community of friends who read, wrote, and debated how to act as a Jew in the world, I remembered that I could deal with the bleak, intimidating reality of sexual violence and gender equality by drawing on Jewish values. Judaism teaches, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof—Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:18). Instead of feeling I might have to give up against seemingly insurmount-

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Alpha Epsilon Phi / Sigma Delta Tau Violence able odds, “tzedek, tzedek tirdof ” taught that my responsibility to pursue justice wasn’t confined to a single act or even to a few. The Torah rarely repeats itself, so the repetition of tzedek was emphasizing my commitment to pursue justice over and over again until I saw the impact of my efforts. The double tzedek also signified to me the duality of justice needed—both the short-term crisis on my campus and the long term, second-level justice that would include preventative education to help make sexual respect and gender equity the status quo. Further, I sought justice both for me, the personal justice of being able to walk alone on campus at night, and a second concentric circle of justice that would protect students with fewer privileges and opportunities to combat the injustices they encountered. While in Washington, I consulted with the National Women’s Law Center and other anti-sexual violence organizations and activists. And after Machon Kaplan ended, I worked with a friend on an online publication we would soon launch covering on-campus and national issues. By the time I returned to campus in the fall, I was armed with facts, policy information, and resources. Almost immediately after our site went live, we were in the national spotlight. We’d published a piece about a graphically violent t-shirt design one of the fraternities had printed, describing the shirt as an example of the bigger issues in our campus culture that contributed to violence against women. Some small national blogs picked up the story. Because I was the publication’s coeditor, the student body president asked me to speak to the Board of Trustees about needed changes on campus. Other student representatives and I walked into the trustees meeting with a list of demands, among them ensuring counseling center support for survivors and mandating bystander education—

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teaching all students effective intervention skills to prevent sexual harassment in social situations. As a result, I was one of two student representatives appointed to the college’s Sexual Misconduct Oversight Committee. We addressed the issues with faculty, administration, legal counsel, and board representatives. By January of my junior year, the committee published a report on our campus’s rape culture with recommendations for improvement. Some of our suggestions, such as increased sexual respect education for first-year students and more regulated (albeit permissive) alcohol and party protocols, were implemented immediately as new college policy. In addition, I helped organize a campus-wide Day of Dialogue during which all classes were cancelled and students and faculty gathered in small groups to learn about sexual respect. And campus activists in the student senate helped form a Title IX Review Committee, due to be up and running this September, to help tackle major challenges. Right now, for example, many sexual assault cases are reported but then are not filed or do not make it through the hearing process; the committee is tasked with figuring out why this is happening and how to better support survivors through the process. In addition, certain college personnel have undocumented reputations for mishandling sexual violence cases; the committee hopes to better document complaints against those specific individuals as flaws in the implementation of policy. As I graduate, most of the changes I’d hoped to see on my campus are yet to be completed. I had hoped to create a culture of student and faculty intervention when witnessing sexual harassment in social situations and to address headon how a school’s athletics culture affects sexual respect. Nevertheless, I’ve learned that even a college student like myself can fight for justice and make a difference. In Leviticus 19:16 we read, “Lo ta’amod al dam rei-echa—Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” I will not stand idly by. —Liya Rechtman, a recent college graduate, grew up at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY

fall 2014

7/9/14 8:48 PM


Growing as a Jew at a Catholic U.


ttending a Catholic university—Loyola University in Chicago— might at first sound like a strange choice for someone who became a bat mitzvah, was confirmed at a Reform temple, and spent many summers at a Jewish sleep-away camp. The majority of students identify as Roman Catholic, and the university’s small Hillel meant I’d likely miss out on the many Jewish opportunities other universities offered. However, after I carefully considered the majors, programs, activities, and resources my ideal school would offer, Loyola seemed to be my best match, by far. So I accepted the school’s offer and opened my mind to discovering ways to grow as a Jew at a Catholic university. Now, after two semesters at Loyola, I’ve discovered two ways to do just that:


Possessing a viewpoint that differs from the majority paves the way for me to teach others about Judaism and Jewish values. During

one class, our teacher asked us to place ourselves in various mindsets—African American, non-English speaker, Jewish—that might affect our attitude towards school. One Catholic student commented that she did not think being Jewish would make someone feel alienated. She and others seemed to take for granted the wooden crosses that hang above every classroom door; the president’s traditional priest attire of a black shirt and white collar tab; and the emphasis of religion in university life, such as the call for a moment of prayer at school-wide events. Recognizing this situation as an educational opportunity, I later spoke to this classmate about how being a Jew at a


Learning about another religion can be a pathway to deepening your relationship with your own faith. One

Catholic institution can sometimes feel displacing. It felt rewarding to hear her response: “Wow, I never even thought about that. Thank you.” A second opportunity to share my Jewish perspective arose after Loyola’s student government passed a resolution promulgated by Students for Justice in Palestine to divest university investments from eight companies that conduct business with Israel. Some students did not understand the issues involved; I explained to them what the resolution meant and why I did not support it. A number of students expressed outrage that the student government’s decision was not reflective of the student body, was not wellinformed or in the spirit of peaceful and open dialogue, and chose a side on the age-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians; in this instance I presented them with a petition they could sign calling for the divestment resolution to be vetoed by the student body president. Many of these peers joined me at the meeting that eventually led to a veto of the resolution. In these and other situations, I’ve discovered how contributing my Jewish perspectives can lead to meaningful discussions with my peers. reform judaism

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evening, out of curiosity, I joined a friend in attending mass. When I first saw the robed clergy parade down the nave (central part) of the chapel swinging incensefilled thuribles (censers) and carrying a lectionary (a schedule of biblical readings) along with a tall cross adorned with a golden Jesus, I instinctively thought: How foreign this is! But, I quickly stopped myself and instead made the conscious decision to focus on the similarities between Catholic and Jewish practices. The tradition of waving fragrant incense reminded me of how we smell sweet spices during Havdalah. The way the priest held the lectionary above his head brought to mind my hometown rabbi holding the Torah aloft during services. The use of call and response prayers and melodic chanting in praise of God mirrored the back and forth of the Bar’chu and rhythmic recitation of the Hebrew prayers. I soon discovered other Jewish-Catholic commonalities. Catholics forego certain tasty temptations during Lent; Jews go without leavened bread during Passover and fast on Yom Kippur. My rabbi asked congregants to wish one another “Shabbat Shalom”; priests ask people in the pews to say “Peace be with you.” There are also cultural similarities—some of my friends here wring their hands with “Catholic guilt,” like my “Jewish guilt” when I forget to call my parents. By identifying commonalities—while respecting differences— I’ve learned about Catholicism and reinforced my own heritage. Loyola has also introduced me to

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University of Chicago students join a community that’s all about ideas. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll find a place that allows you to take chances, express your thoughts, and discover your passions. The award-winning Newberger Hillel Center, UChicago, and a multitude of Jewish student organizations support a diverse array of Jewish communities that allow students to explore being Jewish in social, ethnic, spiritual, and myriad other ways.

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Catholic practices I find compatible with my Reform mindset. One weekend on a freshmen retreat program, I was introduced to what Jesuits call examen, the daily prayer that Saint Ignatius Loyola, my school’s namesake, prescribed as a time to be thankful, ask God for assistance, review the good and bad parts of your day, ask God for forgiveness, and pray for God’s graces. At their root I recognized these as Jewish teachings, too. Then I realized I’d been missing something in my active college life. Where were the quiet, restorative moments I needed? At my home congregation I’d often found solace in saying the Sh’ma and in moments of silent prayer, so I decided to bring my own Jewish sensibilities to examen. I would carve out time from my busy schedule to be thankful, reflective, and humble. My reflective activities included journaling, practicing yoga, and going to Hillel. I’ve found other Jewish parallels in Loyola’s Jesuit educational philosophy, which embodies five hallmark characteristics: commitment to excellence, faith in God and the religious experience, service that promotes justice, values-based leadership, and global awareness. Judaism also promotes education, faith, social justice, informed leadership, and global responsibility. Interestingly, seeing these same ideals reinforced in a different religious context has strengthened my Jewish faith. One day, while cleaning up a local park with other Loyola undergraduates, I saw I was among students wearing hijabs and golden cross necklaces. I was volunteering because of my dedication to tikkun olam (repairing the world), other students were helping out of different religious convictions, and all of us saw value in bettering our community. These days, when I’m asked what it is like to attend a Jesuit university as a Jew, I respond, “It is more Jewish than I ever would have imagined.” Sure, there are crosses instead of mezuzot on the doors. But I’ve grown as a Jew by finding common ground in religious values, promoting interfaith harmony, and teaching others what I cherish in my own tradition. —Carlin Coffey, a Loyola University sophomore and member, Temple Israel, Columbus, Ohio

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6 Ways To Fund Your Project


here may be info about engagement more funding internships, contact your available for Hillel and visit your on-campus lead-engage. Jewish program At the University of than you think: Southern California, Men of Reform Judaengagement intern Ricardo ism’s Reform on Campus Gorinstein created a Krav (ROC) Grants: You can Maga program for students apply for up to $500 for a to learn Israeli self-defense single Reform event, such as tactics. Another intern, a camp-style Shabbat and Jared Fleitman, started a dinner, or up to $750 for a campus chapter of TAMID series of events, such as a cul- “NEXT SHABBAT” AT UC IRVINE, NOVEMBER 2011. Israel Investment Group, tural celebration. For 2013– which focuses on Israeli 14, the Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ) start-up companies. interns who build relationships with awarded 44 grants totaling nearly Ask Big Questions: In partnership Jewish peers at 50+ campuses, creating $20,000, according to Steven Portnoy, with the Einhorn Family Charitable meaningful Jewish experiences and MRJ secretary and chair of the Reform Trust and Hillel International, this vibrant Jewish life. Stipends vary on Campus Committee. For more infor- depending upon the Hillel. For more initiative seeks to change the world by mation:, @reformoncampus (Twitter) NEXT: A Division of Birthright TIKKUN OLAM Israel Foundation: If you’ve been on TIKKUN OLAM a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, check out these three program funding opportunities. NEXT Shabbat ( Shabbat) enables you to host a Shabbat for your friends, providing up to $224 for food and a free “Shabbox” includTIKKUN OLAM ing candles, “Shabbat essentials” cards, a challah cover, a kiddush cup, and a TIKKUN OLAM CD. NEXT will also help you celebrate TIKKUN OLAM holidays such as Passover and Rosh Hashanah by providing resources and TIKKUN OLAM a microgrant to help cover the cost of food for guests. Additionally, Natan/ NEXT Grants for Social Entrepreneurs Be part of something larger than yourself at ( offers Case Western Reserve University—rated No. 4 in up to $10,000 to help fund a project Washington Monthly‘s guide to colleges that contribute that brings Jews in your area together to the national good. for cultural, educational, service, and community-building experiences. For info:,, Learn more about Jewish life at Hillel’s Campus-Engagement Case Western Reserve at: Initiative: Hillel trains and provides financial assistance to engagement

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sparking conversations that invite people of all religious traditions, cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and personal/political beliefs to talk and reflect together on such universal and formative topics as “What could we sacrifice to change the world?” and “For whom are we responsible?” Ask Big Questions conversations aim to create community and inspire action. Learn more at Alternative Break with Hillel: If you are interested in addressing poverty, illiteracy, and/or natural disasters in the context of social responsibility and Jewish values, many Hillels offer short-term service opportunities ranging from volunteering in Israel to building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Costs vary by Hillel and are subsidized by Hillel International. For info, contact your Hillel or visit Jewish Federation Projects: The next time you need general project funding, contact your local Jewish federation to see if they can help. When I arrived at the University of Arizona in 2009, I became enthusiastic about the Homer Davis Project, which helps financially struggling families at Homer Davis Elementary School. Jewish and non-Jewish college students would collect and distribute school supplies to Homer Davis students, as well as raise money for the school through food drives and bake sales. The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona signed on, providing us with $500 worth of donated school supplies, and we organized a series of events involving hundreds of UA students. The university’s Religious Council subsequently adopted the project: Hillel and other U. of Arizona students arranged food packages for Homer Davis students who wouldn’t have received school meals during Rodeo Break (a Tucson tradition-based school holiday during which most students attend the Tucson Rodeo parade or other rodeo activities). So, no matter where your interests lie, be sure to seek out funding to create a better Jewish community on your campus. —Meryl Press, student at the University of Arizona

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Highlight your demonstrated leadership skills. Are you the head of your synagogue youth group? Did you develop a special project related to your bar/bat mitzvah? Have you been a counselor or song leader at summer camp? Are you a Hebrew tutor in religious school? Be sure to mention these and other accomplishments on a detailed activity list.


Send audio or visual demonstration of your special talents. If you’re an outstanding musician, send a CD to the music department and make a point to visit with a professor in the department when you tour the campus. If you’re a talented painter, submit a portfolio either to the admissions office or to the art department. Note: Even if you have great YouTube videos or any other social media demonstrations of your accomplishments, do not submit links unless the school specifically asks for them and furnishes required specifications upfront. Because most schools are inundated with applications and have limited staff, they will not take the time to watch your video.

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Explain why you are applying specifically to their school. Often colleges reject strong applicants because they don’t think the student is sufficiently interested in or committed to their school. Use your essays to persuade them that you want to be on their campus. For example, one excellent engineering student I worked with took the time to explain why she specifically liked Princeton’s engineering program, noting that it incorporated six different academic departments (including Operations Research and Financial Engineering) and focused on both practice and theory. Now she’s enjoying it first-hand. —Dr. Michele Hernandez, president of Hernandez College Consulting LLC, co-president of Application Boot Camp, LLC and author of four books including Don’t Worry, You’ll Get In: 100 Winning Tips for Stress Free College Admissions


Ranked #11 among “Top 60 Schools Jews Choose” by Reform Judaism magazine Jewish students at USC find: • Spiritual and educational support through Hillel and elsewhere, including holiday celebrations, special events and networking opportunities. • The Casden Institute, supporting research that advances an understanding of Jewish culture and history in American life. • Scholarships, including the prestigious Jewish Leadership Scholarship, worth $12,500 per year. • The USC Shoah Foundation Institute, founded by USC Trustee Steven Spielberg and devoted to collecting and preserving the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. • A joint bachelor’s degree program and specialized courses offered through USC and Hebrew Union College. Discover why you should choose USC. USC Office of Admission (213) 740-1111

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