36 Things A Small Hillel Might Do
For more ideas from Hillel:
The Foundation for Jewish Life International Center
its SoReference Kit, on the Soref page of their site
The SoReference Kit is designed to help you create and foster
a vibrant Jewish community on campuses served by the Soref
Initiative. Hillel International
's Soref page also includes additional information
on national conferences, scholarships, grants, Brandeis Collegiate
Institute training and other resources.
- Elect a Student President, a Student
Board and a Faculty/Staff Committee and have lots of meetings.
- Start a Shabbat morning minyan, for
prayer, Torah reading, Torah study and pot-luck lunch.
- Organize a High Holiday service
in the style to which you would like to become accustomed.
- Build a Sukkah, organize a Hanukkah
party, or run a campus Seder. Have a Purim
party, write a Purim spiel or run a shaloch manos food drive or
read the whole megillah or dress up in costumes and drink until
you can't tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai. Plant
a Tu-BShvat tree. Plan a special minyan or a lil shimurim (study
- Have a bagel brunch.
- Make Hillel a central site for information
about activities of Jewish interest on campus and alert local
institutions -- including campus groups, Mid-East Center,
Chabad, Kol Ami, JCC, Federation, Interfaith Council and Westminster
of our existence as a clearinghouse for information to students.
Create a list of courses of special interest to Jewish students
on campus (click here for an out of date listing). Publicize
adult education classes sponsored by Beis Menahem, Kol Ami, the
JCC, Har Shalom and others. See if there is interest in other
courses not currently offered by the University.
- Help organize Holocaust Memorial Week.
- Organize an American Jewish (or Israeli or Yiddish) film festival.
- Organize campus affiliates of Kesher, the Reform students' organization or Koach,
the Conservative students' organization.
Hillel has recently been sent copies of the national Koach newsletter,
which includes articles, study opportunities, conference announcements
and funding opportunities. Contact Hillel for a copy or subscribe by writing
to Richard S. Moline, Koach Director, 180 N. Michigan
Ave., Chicago Il 60601.
- Invite a speaker -- could be local or West Coast academics;
co-sponsoring a talk with Impact Series, Kol Ami or Habad; on
Jewish texts, on ethical/political/moral issues, on history, on
literature/culture. Or a fiction writer or a klezmer musician
or dancers or politician or activist or comedian or the Jewish
Healing Center. Send a Hillel representative to the Mid East Center's
committee that invites speakers of Jewish interest to campus or
to Federation's Impact committee that schedules events for the
- Send representatives to conferences (academic/young
leadership/social/religious) out of town. Hillel, the Reform movement,
the Conservative movement, UJA, Bnai Brith and others have national
and regional and young leadership conferences or kallot. See our
web page for listings of some upcoming ones, or call for more.
- Learn to bake Jewish onion rye and pumpernickel
bread or reinvent cholent or join with the Scandinavian Students
Association to write a history of lox and smoke some too or petition
Brueggers to carry bialys and onion boards. Or join National Hillel's
World's Largest Matzoh Ball Project.
- Put on a performance of "The Creation: The Musical" with, or
for, one (or all) of the local Jewish schools
(or other religious schools).
- Teach a course, for kids or adults, on a topic of Jewish interest,
or volunteer to help at one of the local Jewish
- Have a Shabbat dinner.
Or organize a shabbaton and bring in a rabbi or a speaker from
University of Judaism or Hebrew Union College or Graetz College
or elsewhere for a retreat and study
- Go as a group to Israeli dancing at the JCC (or to ski
Deer Valley, Park
City, Snowbird, Solitude,
The Canyons, or ...).
To go directly to the Daily Snow Conditions Report from Ski
Utah (the Utah Ski Association), click here.
- Join the Hebrew language lunch
table discussion, Fridays at noon. Or go to Israel
for a mission or a Winter Break or a semester
or a year or on aliyah. (Hillel receives mailings on various opportunities
in Israel and can direct you to others). Or spend a summer studying
Yiddish at the Oxford
Institute for Yiddish Studies.
- Create a special assembly program for the children in Kol Ami's
religious school, the Utah School for Jewish Studies, the JCC
school, or the general community.
- Have a cook-out and minyan in the mountains.
- Sponsor a competition or a teaching session to create artistic
ritual objects -- kiddish cups or groggers or anything else.
- Learn trope. Here's
another source for learning to chant
- Organize a teach-in or intensive study session on a text or
a topic. Or start a local class based on one of the Internet courses
offered by Koach, the Jewish Theological Seminary
or Project Genesis. Or attempt
to organize a Beit Midrash on campus in connection with Hillel's
Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning. Or bring in a speaker,
perhaps with help from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture
or from the University of Judaism or HUC-Jewish Institute of Religion
- Fund raise for Federation/UJA, or the New
Israel Fund, or the campus Jewish community's programming
or to convert a frat row building to a Hillel House, or the Marriott
Judaica collection, or the Law School's Jewish Law collection
or a local charity working with local poverty issues, or to buy
one of the old synagogues and convert it into a settlement house.
- Have a klezmer party and dance until we drop. Here are some
Jewish music resources.
- Sponsor hevruta Talmud study pairs or a once a week Talmud study
- Pursue justice with or without Tzedek Hillel.
- Form a new organization, ask for reactions from the existing
organizations and have a meeting to discuss the meaning of tolerance,
unity and diversity in the Salt Lake Jewish community. Or sponsor
a debate on the role of nationalism in ethical Judaism or whether
a traditional Jew can believe in God or whether Halacha forbids
a Jew to vote for [pick your least favorite Israeli or American
politician] or whether law school is preferable to medical school
or whether Rosa Luxemburg/Mordechai Kaplan/the Gerer Rebbe has
the appropriate approach to the Jewish tradition or whether it
is more neutral to force everyone to follow Orthodox or Reform
rules or whether the intolerant are tolerable or whether every
attempt at a joke necessarily will offend someone. Or talk about
the problems of secular-religious relations with Gesher.
- Find 49 arguments why shrimp are kosher (and meet one qualification
for serving on the Sanhedrin).
- Have a Biblical psycho-drama session and act out the Akeda,
or David and Batsheva; or make it more contemporary and do the
Occupation of Low Library at Columbia University or the organization
of the ladies garment workers.
- Visit Clarion, Utah's
own defunct Zionist/Socialist "kibbutz".
- Put on an amateur production of the Dybbuk. Or bring the San
Francisco professional production -- by A
Travelling Jewish Theatre -- here.
- Organize a Yiddish songfest and teach the West High Chorus some
real Jewish songs. Or learn the songs of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda.
- Learn about Jewish roots using the local genealogy center or
the genealogy and history resources and exhibits of The
Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora or the Jewish Genealogy or Avotaynu Jewish Genealogy Publishers sites.
- Form a reading group to read an easy-Hebrew (or not so easy)
novel. Or stay up all night arguing about the essays of Ahad HaAm
in translation, or work through them over a trimester in the original
(they are readable with 2d year Hebrew and a dictionary).
- Assist the local Jewish oral history project interview or create
a new project in collaboration with national institutions, such
as the Center for Jewish History
or the National Foundation
for Jewish Culture or the N.Y.
Tenement Museum. Or visit some of the superb Jewish history
exhibits on the net, starting with Beit
HaTefusot -- The Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora
and its links or the Center for Jewish
History (formed by the American Jewish Historical Society,
the Leo Baeck Society, Yeshiva University's Jewish Museum and
- Organize a Laugh for Life Jewish humor show with KUER or next
year's Hanukkah Arts Festival. But see #27: do it very seriously.
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