This weekend, Executive Director Melissa Duchin traveled to Austin to visit Texas Hillel for Teen Night: an opportunity to learn about Jewish life for high schoolers and, for seniors, to learn about Jewish life on campus. It was a wonderful opportunity to make connections before they reach campus and answer questions students have about navigating their first year on their own. Melissa met some of Austin's seniors who are heading to University of Texas at Dallas with the incoming class of 2020. We look forward to welcoming the next Freshman class!
All week long during Passover students were able to enjoy Kosher for Passover brown bag lunches with Student Engagement Director Ralph Landau. Over 40 students took advantage of the deli and matzah sandwiches, fresh fruit and KFP cookies. Students also celebrated together the Wednesday before Passover with a mock Seder, complete with matzah ball soup and charoset.
Students at UTD enjoyed April's Lunch and Learn with guest speaker Joel Schwitzer, Regional Director of AJC and Hillels of North Texas advisory board member. Joel addressed students' myriad questions on Israel, Palestinian-Israeli relations, and history. Since it was Passover, Kosher for Passover deli sandwiches on matzah were served for lunch. (Pictured above: students, Executive Director Melissa Duchin, and Regional Director of AJC Joel Schwitzer showing UTD pride)
The Tuesday evening before Passover began, 35 students gathered around the table for a delectable Seder with chocolate! Hillel at UT Dallas invited all to come an experience a Passover Seder and learn about the tradition through a chocolate mock Seder. Students dipped strawberries in chocolate and made Hillel s'mores while getting to know each other and talk about what freedom means to them.
Gray skies and rain did not stop Jewish students at University of North Texas (UNT) from celebrating their love for Israel outdoors with hundreds of students and community members.
On April 13th, 2016 Hillels of North Texas hosted their 16th annual Israel Fair to engage the UNT community on Israel. The event was scheduled to begin at 11:00am, but constant rain during setup time made it difficult to construct the tents. Knowing the rain would pass, staff and student volunteers from Hillel and AEPi stayed strong and set up the fair. After a rain delay start, Israeli music was blasting and students were lining up.
Over 400 students came through Israel Fair, which had several booths set up about Israel’s culture, geography, and food. For taking part in learning about Israel, students received a t-shirt and lunch provided by Beirut Mediterranean Grill. “It warmed my heart to see students that would have no interaction with Israel embrace and be excited about Israel” said sophomore English major Rachel Kohnhorst. One of the students’ favorite booths was on learning what is and is not kosher. Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis of Congregation Kol Ami captivated passers-by, answering any questions students had. Also in attendance were Jewish and Israel Studies Program at UNT and Jewish Community Relations Council. “It felt really good to see all of the hard work and time that we put into preparing for Israel Fair pay off,” said Israel Chair Rachael Hunt.
Hillels of North Texas thanks its partner organizations and sponsors for the event: Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Hillel International, Men of Reform Judaism, and Israel on Campus Coalition.
On Sunday, April 10th Hillels of North Texas students from UNT, UT Dallas and Collin College participated in an afternoon of discussion and empowerment to address anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitism on campus. Roberta Clark, Regional Director of ADL, and Executive Director Melissa Duchin co-facilitated the afternoon. Students talked about the overlapping concepts of Zionism, Judaism and Israel and discussed what they would do in different potential scenarios of bias on campus.
Six Hillel students attended the Dallas AIPAC annual event on February 28th at the Winspear Opera House. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and thank the donors who have made it possible to send Hillel students to the AIPAC Policy Conference, coming up March 20-22nd in Washington, DC. Students especially enjoyed hearing inspiring words about Israel and Zionism from the keynote, Dr. Daniel Gordis. Pictured above (L to R): Emily Fine, Rachel Kohnhorst, Matt Osterman, Noa Barazani, Kimberly Klein, Executive Director Melissa Duchin, AIPAC Dallas Annual Event Co-Chair Kenny Goldberg.
This spring semester, Hillel at UT Dallas introduced Friday night Shabbat dinners to its monthly programs. Hillel is in its third year at UT Dallas and has grown tremendously. It is such a joy to spend Friday night with Hillel students on campus. On February 12th, students gathered in Libra Room to enjoy Milk and Honey's falafel and schniztel with 18 students. Hillel board members led students in Shabbat blessings, and then Vice President Elad Banai shared words of Torah. Shabbat shalom!
This could be you this summer! Take the opportunity to travel to Israel with Hillels of North Texas on this FREE 10 Day Birthright Trip. Summer registration officially opens February 1st, but you can pre-register today and get ahead of the line for your spot. Go to israelwithisraelis.com/signupnorthtexas. Hillels of North Texas is traveling with other Texas campuses through trip provider Shorashim. If you are curious whether you qualify for the trip or would like help through the registration process, talk to Melissa Duchin, firstname.lastname@example.org or (682) 334-HNTX.
On Sunday, January 24th the Jewish Community Center of Dallas hosted a Dallas Jewish College Fair. Representing Hillels of North Texas, Hillel at UT Dallas student president Hannah Ghotbi and Executive Director Melissa Duchin met with prospective students to tell them about Jewish life on campus. Hannah and Melissa enjoyed sharing how much UT Dallas is growing as a residential campus and the flourishing student life on UNT’s campus. Two UNT Hillel students also attended the fair to talk about AEPi and stopped by the Hillel table. Other universities and their Hillels represented at the college fair included: Texas Christian University, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma University.