University of Delaware
Annual Report 2015-2016
Kristol Center for Jewish Life
Enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.
We envision a world where every student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.
A Message from Robin & Donna It has been an amazing year of accomplishment, excitement and joy at UD Hillel. We started the year celebrating the beginning of kosher dining on campus at the Caesar Rodney Dining Hall. We also began our participation in Hillel International’s Comprehensive Excellence program as the fourth university to participate. The Stuart and Suzanne Grant Comprehensive Excellence Society was named, after the Grant family kicked off the campaign. They were joined by the Kristol Family, Toni Young, Phillis and Norman Aerenson and the Pincus Family. This program is enabling us to expand our capability as an organization and measure our results in ways that we have never done in the past. It is also helping us improve our fundraising capabilities through training, technical support, and increased staffing. The expansion of the staff has enabled us to increase both the number of impactful programming and personal interactions with students. We are introducing new things to the campus, such as bringing a Startup Nation Technology Fair and the Blue Hen Bar Mitzvah to campus. We have also had continued success with annual programs such as Freshman Fest, Birthright Israel, Shabbat meals, Passover seder, etc. Overall we are continuing to provide a Jewish home away from home to our students. In addition to these activities we have been focusing on educating and informing our students on Jewish topics. We have involved the larger Delaware community so that our students feel like they are truly Delawareans, at least during their stay with us. We are hoping some of these amazing young Jewish leaders may stay in the area. Our board has also been very busy this year working on process and function. We have, revamped our by-laws, formed new committees, created a focus on development and support of our strategic goals as identified by Hillel International’s Drive to Excellence program. We have started to build an endowment program, meeting our goals to get funds from the Create a Jewish Legacy program. We honored our former board President Dr. Barry Kayne for his work and dedication to our Hillel with a special and very entertaining speaker, Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Attendance was spectacular and the event was open to the public. This year has been one of the most exciting, impactful, and enjoyable for us. We are continuing to grow and expand to meet the needs of our growing student population. B’Shalom,
Robin Karol Eng, President
Donna Schwartz, Executive Director
A Message from our Student President I was always told that college would be the best four years of my life. When I committed to the University of Delaware, I believed it. When I found Hillel, I knew it would be true. I like to tell people that I got involved with Hillel before my freshmen year even started. I moved in two days early through a Hillel program called Freshmen Fest, a unique opportunity to explore the campus and Jewish life before everyone else moves in. And so it happened that Hillel was not only my first college experience but also, it would later turn out, one of the best. With my friends who became family and the undying support of our incredible staff, I quickly transformed from “member” to “leader”—an important and meaningful change that happened at the end of my very first semester in college. I developed leadership and professional skills, explored my Jewish identity, and was introduced to more opportunites that I ever could have dreamed of. Last summer, I decided it was time to give back to the organization that had done so much for me, and I applied to intern at Hillel International. It was there that I learned about what goes into building successful communities, creating strong student leaders, and incorporation Judaism into the Student Life here at UD. There was still so many ways I could give back to the community that helped me grow into who I am today, and I was not going to stop until I had done everything I could. This past semester as president has been crazy, busy, overwhelming, and absolutely amazing. I have been given more opportunities than I ever could have imagined, from advocating for Israel on campus, to meeting the State Governor and the President of the University and Dr. Ruth all in one night, to attending various Jewish-and Israel-related conferences. Our programming this semester was through the roof, thanks to the hard work of our staff and student leaders. The connections I have made and the skills I have learned through my time in Hillel will stay with me for a lifetime. Hillel is my family, my home, my passion; it is the beginning of my college experience, an integral part of my growth throughout my time at UD, and I know it will be there for me through the end—and I would have it no other way. Nikki Golomb, Hillel Student Life President
Hillel by the Numbers
students came to our Welcome Back BBQ
upperclassmen welcomed 160 Jewish freshmen at Freshmen Fest 2015
latkes were enjoyed for Hanukkah
students feeling sick got soup delivered straight to their door through our Matzah Ball Soup Hotline
UD students went to Israel with us on Birthright
students participated in our first ever Shabbat Across Campus!
students were engaged with Hillel through a professional internship or a leadership opportunity
students met Israeli entrepreneurs at the StartUp Nation Technology Fair
students enjoyed Kosher for Passover meals at Hillel
UD Hillel is... Building interfaith cooperation
Strengthening studentsâ€™ connection to Israel
Empowering & Developing Leaders
Embodying Jewish values Building Community
Enhancing Campus life
Empowering & Developing Leaders Leadership Education And Development (L.E.A.D) The LEAD program provides our community of student leaders with opportunities to grow as Jewish leaders. The 6-part speaker-series gathers our student leadership monthly to hear from talented Jewish leaders on a range of leadership topics centered around Jewish values. Our student leaders benefit from engaging in thoughtful discussion and personal reflection on topics such as constructive conflict and the act of hachnasat orachim, or welcoming others. Our 3rd annual student leadership retreat saw our highest attendance ever, with 38 students who participated in our Shabbaton full of bonding, learning and laughter. The focus of this yearâ€™s retreat was on values, communicaiton and unplugging. This year began our new LEAD Reward program which recognizes and rewards are most invested students for their commitment and involvement.
Internships & Student Groups Whether it be through an internship or a position on the board of one of our seven Jewish student groups, UD Hillel offers a wide range of opportunities for students to exercise their leadership. Hillel also provides students with support so they can attend professional Jewish conferences all across the country.
Hillel is building the Jewish future, one student at a time.
Connecting students on the basis of their interests, passions and beliefs.
Building community First Year Students at Hillel (FYSH) Hillel kicked off its first year-long freshmen engagement program for incoming students called First Year Students at Hillel (FYSH). In addition to freshmen-only programming that took place in residence halls, the FYSH program involved a peer mentorship initiative known as Big FYSH Little FYSH. As peer mentors, upperclassmen, “Big FYSH” had the responsibility of making their little FYSH feel welcome and supported as they stepped into the college world.
Shabbat Across Campus For the first time ever, UD Hillel organized Shabbat Across Campus! The goal was simple—provide students with everything they needed to host their own Shabbat dinner in their dorms, apartments or houses. While it was a Do-it-yourself Shabbat, it was not a do-it alone Shabbat. 19 students opened their tables to 259 guests that joined them for an intimate and memorable Shabbat experience.
Greek Life Hillel is building new partnerships with Greek fraternities and sororities at UD. Some successful Hillel-Greek life partnerships from this year included Pink Shabbat with Alpha Epsilon Phi to support Sharsheret, Shanghai Shabbat- a kosher-asian dinner with Zeta Beta Tau, and a Meet ‘n Greek Sushi Social- which brought together participants throughout the Greek community. A team from Alpha Epsilon Pi represented us at the National Hillel Basketball Tournament at the University of Maryland. A new Hillel engagement program, Jews in Greek Life (JiGL), got its first start this spring. Created by two of our Campus Engagement Interns, JiGL is committed to strengthening the relationship between Greek and Jewish life.
Enhancing campus life Ori Shavit In partnership with UD’s Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, UD Hillel welcomed Israeli vegan leader Ori Shavit to campus in October. Shavit led a private cooking demonstration, lectured on “Changing the World Through Food” and attended a private vegan dinner with students interested in learning more about the vegan movement in Israel.
“Ori Shavit’s energetic cooking demonstration was full of great information as well as delicious food that could easily inspire non-vegans to experiment with compassionate cooking. She is a talented teacher and wonderful spokesperson for vegan cooking and the vegan community of Israel. Thanks so much to Hillel for bringing her here.” -Dr. Debra Wolf, Instructor English Language Institute
Blue Hen Bar Mitzvah As part of UD’s new Trabant Now and Perkins Live series, offering alternative late-night programming for students, UD Hillel hosted a Blue Hen Bar Mitzvah. Students enjoyed snapping pictures in a photobooth, dancing the horah with YoUDee and participating in the traditional candlelighting ceremony. Both Jewish and non-Jewish students got to experience an American Jewish rite of passage. Our partnership with Reboot’s ReBar Project allowed students to reflect on their own B’nei Mitzvah to explore what they would change or do differently. Our students answered “What did you value at 13?”, “What’s important to you today?” and “What do you commit to doing for yourself, your family and your community?”
Dr. Ruth Over 350 students and community members came out to hear sex therapist and famed radio host Dr. Ruth Westheimer speak at the University of Delaware. Her lecture, titled From Sniper to Sex Therapist, discussed her fascinating life story from being orphaned after her parents were killed in the Holocaust, to serving in the Israeli army and fighting for the country’s independence and becoming a household name with her radio program Sexually Speaking.
Hillel develops impactful programming that enriches the entire campus community.
Bringing Judaism off the page and into life.
Embodying Jewish values
Matzah Ball Soup Hotline Fulfilling our commandment to visit and help the sick, our Matzah Ball Soup Hotline delivers delicious matzah ball soup to students who are sniffling or sneezing. The soup is made at Hillel in our kosher kitchen and is delivered right to the student’s residence hall or apartment. We love bringing a little piece of home to the students when they are feeling under the weather.
“The scariest part about leaving Hillel for the ‘real world’ is wondering how to continue being involved with Jewish life after graduation. How to Drink Like a Grown-Up helps bridge the gap between Hillel’s constant availability and postgraduation’s instability by providing meaningful information in a setting that is at once casual and reminiscent of our soon to be adulthood. Put simply, I loved it.” -Carley Becker, Class of 2016
How to Drink like a Grown-Up Our beloved program brings together our Hillel seniors once a month for a night of discussion and reflection over a beer or glass of wine. As the “grown-up world” approaches, seniors have an opportunity to discuss what it means to be a Jewish adult.
Torah Study The 11th mitzvah is that we are commanded to study and to teach the wisdom of Torah. Our Rabbinic Associate leads a weekly text study where students can read and discuss the weekly Torah portion.
Strengthening students’ connection to Israel Lunch and Learns The ‘Lunch N Learn’ program is an opportunity for students to discuss Israeli culture, politics, and current events with community Shlicha Dana Berman. The Lunch N Learn program provides a safe environment for students to voice their opinions, share stories and learn about many aspects of life in Israel.
“Startup Nation Technology Fair brings Israel innovation to UD” Full article appeared in UDaily on March 24, 2016.
The Startup Nation Technology Fair visited the University of Delaware in February, which introduced over 120 students to cutting-edge technology companies and innovative startups in Israel. The event began with a panel featuring three Israeli innovators and was moderated by Dan Freeman, director of the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at UD. Through the panel, students heard first-hand about challenges new startups face including growing a user-base and securing financing. The panel was followed by a technology expo in which 15 Israeli start-ups and early stage companies presented themselves. It was a unique opportunity for students to meet Israeli entrepreneurs, test our their products, services and technology and learn about internship opportunities. The Tech Fair allowed students to see how new Israeli technologies are changing the face of the world. Israel is ranked among the top five most
innovative countries in the world and UD students had a firsthand look at some of the country’s new technology. “It was such a great experience to see how entrepreneurs use technology to their advantage,” said Zachary Senzer, one of the 120 students who attended the fair. “Being able to view the impact of technologies on a global market was an exciting opportunity.”
Providing Israel Advocacy Training • 10 students attended the AIPAC Conference in Washington, DC • 30 Israel education programs happened this year • 6 students attended a community-wide Israel Action Network training hosted by the Jewish Federation of Delaware
• 11 students participated in a “Communicating Effectively for Israel” workshop with Hasbara Fellowships • 17 students hold Israel-focused leadership positions.
Inspiring Jewish students to develop a meaningful and enduring relationship to Israel.
Building interfaith cooperation Community Gathering for Peace in the Middle East “It was so beautiful to see members of the UD community—Jews, Christians, Muslims, and those of other faiths—unite through a common purpose of hope and peace. The shared speeches, prayers, and concluding song were moving, and I stood, deeply reflecting. I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by people who care about Israel’s safety and security and by people who make me feel like I’m part of something much larger than myself.” -Rachel Pleet, Class of 2016
Ask Big Questions Full article appeared in UDaily on March 24, 2016. Ask Big Questions (ABQ) is a national program that has begun its inaugural steps at the University of Delaware this year. The effort to bring this program to UD was led by Nicole Wasilus, assistant director at UD Hillel, and Joe Pritchett, area coordinator in the Office of Residence Life and Housing. Wasilus and Pritchett selected 12 talented students for the 2015-16 year to serve as Ask Big Questions Fellows. The ABQ Fellows have been trained using the Ask Big Questions framework to facilitate small group conversations around the “big question” of the month. So what exactly is a “big question”? Big questions must meet two essential criteria: big questions matter to everyone and everyone must be able to answer them. This program was brought to campus with
support from Residence Life and Housing, UD Hillel, Catholic Campus Ministry, the Office of Service Learning, Wesley Foundation, Student Life and the Presbyterian Campus Ministry. Wasilus said, “The diversity of our partners truly mirrors the diversity of our cohort of 12 fellows, who come from many different backgrounds and involvements on campus.” ABQ Fellows partook in a day-long training session that prepared them to facilitate their own Ask Big Questions discussions. ABQ Fellow Andrea Miller discussed how the training program opened her eyes to the potential that his program has. “I was able to see how these types of coversations can be a gateway for people of differing background and worldviews to connect and grow closer together,” said Miller. This project means a great deal to Wasilus and Pritchett, who both recognized a need for more productive civil discourse on campus. “I believe the the space we are providing for meaningful honest conversations will allow students to refleect on their own values and what they are experiencing and learning both in and out of the classroom,” Wasilus said. “We also believe that this program will help build understanding and trust between diverse students who may not have otherwise encountered each other during their four years here.
Serving Better Together Serving Better Together, a winter session program, brought participants together from across diverse religious and non-religious backgrounds to engage with one another through service. Students participated in a month of programs including an Interfaith Youth Core workshop, a service trip with Habitat for Humanity, a Winterfaith Shabbat and a service project benefitting Jewish Family Services.
Students of diverse religious identities working together towards a common good.
Our Impact “UD Hillel exposed me to opportunities to travel that would otherwise have not been possible, and has given me the understanding that Judaism is everywhere.” -Jessica Sugarman, Brooklyn, NY
“Through the conversations I had from being a part of the Campus Engagement Internship program, I learned how to incorporate important Jewish values into my everyday life. The program reinforced my strong Jewish identity and allowed me leave a mark on the Jewish community at UD.” -Jacob Weichart, Voorhees, NY
“I’ve learned so much about what it means to be a Jewish woman at this important time in my life. I always leave our weekly CEI meetings feeling enlightened. Isee myself practicing and strengthening all the values, qualities and skills that this experience has instilled in me in the far future.” -Amy Elfond, South Setauket, NY
“Community events, such as shakshuka, cooking lessons, strengthened my ties to my Jewish roots and helped me meet other individuals who share my values.” -Michelle Schwartz, Livingston, NJ
“College seems to be a time in peoples’ lives where they are least in touch with themselves and what they believe in. Having Hillel on campus allows me to retain my sense of self and embrace my Jewish identity.” -Mike Meiskin, Marlboro, NJ
“The Kristol Center for Jewish Life is a place for Jewish students to study, learn and hang out together. Hillel has made this University feel smaller and has united us as a Jewish community.” -Ethan White, Newark, DE
Financial Statement Comprehensive Excellence Campaign Annual Campaign
Comprehensive Excellence Campaign
Program Income Endowments
total $827, 612
total $650, 096
Stuart and Suzanne Grant Comprehensive Excellence Society Comprehenshive Excellence is a bold experiment to see if a fully-funded Hillel, with the technical assistance of Hillel International, can set a new, higher bar for what a high performing Hillel looks like. If successful, Comprehensive Excellence will become the model for raising capital and deploying field expertise needed to take Hillel to the next level. This year, the University of Delaware Hillel became the 4th campus to pilot this program. Money raised by the society ensures that our Hillel is operating at the highest level of excellence. Hillel’s vision is a world where every student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.
Thank you to our founding members of the Stuart and Suzanne Grant Comprehensive Excellence Society. Phyllis and Norman Aerenson • Stuart and Suzanne Grant • The Kristol Family • The Pincus Family • Toni Young
Thank you to our Legacy donors for helping to ensure that UD Hillel will be a home away from home for many years to come.
Annette Aerenson Anonymous Seth Bloom Jerald Eng & Robin Karol-Eng David & Samantha Fruchtman Alan Gilbert & Rebecca Chanin Ivy & Donna Harlev Dan & Dana Horowitz Barry & Reiko Kayne Ken Kamm Daniel Kristol Mark Kuller Richard & Marilyn Levin Jordon & Sharon Rosen Ruth Rosenberg David & Sharon Rosengarten Donna Schwartz & Sonja Hildebrand Nadiv Shapira Ehyal & Kerry Shweiki Edward & Anita Sobel Jeffrey Stape & Caryl Marcus-Stape Karen Venezky 22
Create a Jewish Legacy Family Seth (‘86), Kathy (‘85), Adam (‘14) & Rachel (‘18) Bloom 23
Kristol Center for Jewish Life 47 W. Delaware Ave. Newark, DE 19711 302-453-0479