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Senior Jewish Educators
In the dynamic world of the college campus, students are asking important questions about their lives: who they want to be, how they want to live and what is most important to them. Jewish tradition, simultaneously timeless and timely, offers insights to life’s universal questions as well as particular models for meaningful living.
Through relationships that have depth and meaning, Hillel has an opportunity to help Jewish students explore their own answers to these questions, making a permanent impact on their lives, the Jewish people and the world.
With the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Senior Jewish Educator Initiative (SJE) hires talented educators with authentic Jewish personalities and a wealth of Jewish knowledge to build relationships with students who are otherwise unconnected to Jewish life on campus, helping students to explore the “big life questions” of this particular life stage through the lens of Jewish tradition. The Senior Jewish Educators mentor and teach the CEI interns and meet students through the CEI interns’ social networks and their own engagement efforts.
Read the biographies of the Senior Jewish Educators.
Listen to their podcasts.
SJEs on Campus:
At the University of Texas, Senior Jewish Educator, Devora Brustin, met on a regular basis with a group of student artists to study Jewish sources relates to themes of freedom. The students' study inspired their art and led to a gallery exhinition of their works in spring 2009. More than 35 students, most of whom had never participated in Jewish or Hillel-related activities, were involved.
At New York University, Rabbi Daniel Smokler was invited to the AEPi fraternity for a regular "men's night" where the brothers gathered with the rabbi to talk about key questions in their lives. They used the study of Torah as the lens for conversations about such topics as parental expectations, personal aspirations, money and intimacy.
Josh Gillerman, a CEI Intern at the University of Maryland, started a philosopher's circle with a few of his contacts who were interested in big life questions. Josh reached out to James Kahn, the Senior Jewish Educator on campus, to help him facilitate the conversation and to bring Jewish sources to enrich the discussion. A group of eight to ten students are now meeting regularly.
SJEs in the News:
"Early Indicators Show Hillel Approach Effectively Engages Emerging Adults", (Hillel.org, May 4, 2010).
"UD Hillel Receives Grant to Fund Campus Educator Post; Jeremy Winaker Appointed as Senior Jewish Educator", (Shalomdelaware.org).
"With an Eye Towards Outreach, Hillel Adds Position", (The Tufts Daily, December 9, 2009).
"Spiritual explorer: New Hillel Rabbi Brings Unique Perspective to Service", (LJworld.com, October 9, 2009).
For more information, please contact, Jennifer Zwilling, Jzwilling@hillel.org.