College is about choices, exploration, and growth, as the next generation of Jewish young leaders identify what their impact will be. Engaging in leadership development and following your passion are just a few ways that Jewish college life enriches their experiences.
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Chabad Vanderbilt’s JGrad Shabbat program and meals are designed to be uplifting, connecting, and engaging experiences. The meals are currently a bi-weekly opportunity for Jewish graduate students from across Nashville to meet with each other and form community.
Vanderbilt Hillel’s Israel Program: Though Vanderbilt is broadly pro-Israel, we have a SJP student organization that continues its efforts to bring BDS to campus. We must take careful steps to ensure that we minimize its growth and hopefully avoid the problems that have plagued other campuses. The administration has been appropriately cautious, while some faculty have supported SJP knowingly or unwittingly. This grant will allow Hillel to reimagine how we engage with Israel on campus.
Vanderbilt Hillel’s Jewish Life and Leadership program will provide critical support to Hillel’s ongoing Jewish Life programming and student leadership development. The project will enable us to provide students with meaningful and inspiring religious experiences, create opportunities for students to develop programs and activities that inspire their peers, and build relationships with the Jewish student body, not only among students active in Hillel but those that are not, as well. This grant request provides critical support for all three of these core program areas through staff and programs.
Vanderbilt Hillel’s Passover Seder program will provide critical support to Hillel’s ongoing Passover experiences. The project will enable us to provide students with meaningful and inspiring religious experiences, ensure the continued presence of kosher for Passover food options on campus, and allow us to continue strengthening Jewish educational opportunities available on campus.
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life provides a broad array of meaningful Jewish educational and service experiences in order to fulfill its mission: to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. Hillel’s vision is to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel. This vision articulates our commitment to reach every Jewish student. As the largest Jewish campus organization, with a network of more than 550 campuses, Hillel has the unique opportunity to engage the next generation of students at a time when they are exploring and defining who they will be in the world. Today’s college students and those coming up in Gen Z are the most diverse population we’ve ever seen. We know that 20% of Jews identify as Jews of Color, 20% have a disability, 15% are from Russian speaking families, at least 7% identify as LGBTQ. We are committed to celebrating this diversity and the richness it adds to the Jewish people. The single unifying factor for Generation Z Jews is that such a significant population of them—estimates are 85%-90%—attend college at the same time. For many Jewish students, campus is the first time in their life that they are independently making decisions about their identity, values, and priorities.
Vanderbilt Hillel’s Senior Class and Graduate Program will engage Jewish members of the senior class and grad students at Vanderbilt in social, community service, networking, and educational activities has tremendously enhanced their sense of community as well as established meaningful connections with the Nashville Jewish community. The multi-faceted sense of community that developed as a result of these programs ensures that the bonds between Hillel and our graduating students are enduring and fosters a long-term investment in Hillel and the broader Jewish community. This grant represents a core need for our Hillel and we are requesting $20,000 to fully fund both programs for 2019-2020.
Taglit - Birthright Israel’s goal is to strengthen the Jewish people by building identity and connection through a peer group educational experience in Israel. The program has resulted in unmatched reach and impact; what first began as an intervention for diaspora Jewry is today a milestone—a rite of passage—for young Jewish adults around the world.