The Dessert Baking Club was an idea formed by Whitney Perlen, who recruited us, Brooke and Julia. We joined because we love baking desserts. Every week, we think about the theme for the Shabbat dinner or any upcoming holidays and decide our recipe based on that. If necessary, we adapt recipes to make them parve with things such as dairy-free butter and almond milk. This week, we decided to make churro cupcakes to go along with the Tex-Mex style Shabbat. In the past, we have made orange-flavored cake, carrot cake, chocolate chip pretzel cookie bars, banana cupcakes, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, strawberry cake, and apple cinnamon cake. Additionally, we made chocolate chip and sugar cookies as a finals treat for those studying in the Brody Jewish Center. We love having people come and help us, so feel free to stop by Hillel 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays!
- Julia Havel, Class of 2019
& Brooke Gillman, Class of 2017
On February 24th, we welcomed Ben Brownstein, a speaker from Stand With Us, to Grounds to lead a discussion on anti-Zionism vs. anti-Semitism and if that distinction even truly exists. The event was coordinated by Hoos For Israel, and the 10 students in attendance participated in respectful conversation. The small group made intriguing discussion possible, and it was really a great hour of talking.
Ben began by introducing the idea of the "3 D's" that are used to define anti-Semitism. The 3 D's refer to Demonization, which refers to relating Israel to the Devil or other forms of evil; Delegitimation, the act of denying that Israel has the right to exist; and Double Standards, which refers to resolutions from the UN or other organizations passed against Israel even though those same actions go unsanctioned in other countries. Any statement or piece of media that can be categorized as one or more of these 3 Ds counts as anti-Semitism. We came up with a list of eight frequently encountered accusations against Israel, which we then analyzed to determine whether or not they were anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, both, or neither.
Some accusations we unanimously agreed fit all three categories, such as statements like "the IDF is a terrorist organization." Other statements, such as "Israel is stealing Palestinian land," provoked a discussion that last several minutes and involved many different view points shared by those of us around the table. Ultimately, we decided, that discussing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism as different entities is only possible when the definition of Zionism is agreed upon.
The event was quite successful, and everyone there learned something, either about themselves, about each other, about how to respond to anti-Israeli claims, or about Israel itself. And of course, the free Insomnia Cookies didn't hurt anything either.
Class of 2019
The Gallery Night idea was started by a few of us on the Hoos for Israel board who were inspired by all the great photography that we saw coming out of UVA students’ trips to Israel. We decided that there was no better place than Hillel to feature these amazing snapshots of Israel. So, with the momentum of the large UVA Birthright trip that had just arrived back in the states, we announced the Israel Photography Contest on Facebook. The guidelines for the contest stated that each person could only submit a total of three photos under the categories of Nature, Landmarks/Cities, People, Selfies, and Food. The prizes for winners included a gift card to Basil and an Israel/UVA “swag pack” including t-shirts, cups, and other fun things.
The submissions turned out to be fantastic and the final album consisted of 65 photos. It was a great way to let people share their experiences in Israel and it definitely started some great dialogues about the sites and scenes in the photos. The gallery will be held on Friday night February 26th at Hillel at 6:30pm where the top 5 photos from each category will be voted on once again. In the end we hope to be able to hang 15 photos in Hillel and adorn our beautiful building with UVA students’ memories of Israel, the special place many of us call our second home!
-Jennifer Sachs, Hoos for Israel President
WaJew Class of 2018
Jewish Leadership Council is a group of Jewish leaders from the five different groups under Hillel’s jurisdiction. The groups include the Jewish Education Initiative, Jewish Social Justice Committee, Jewish Social Connection, First Year Connection, and Hoos for Israel. These groups are responsible for planning and executing events for the Jewish community on Grounds, as well as creating a welcoming environment for everyone.
Jewish Leadership Council is off to a great start this semester! Beginning with a half-day retreat to refocus and strategically plan for the rest of the year, JLC discussed awesome ways to foster a stronger Jewish community, provide innovative opportunities for everyone, and continue to strengthen the classics like Bagels on the Lawn and Shabbat dinner. We spent time reviewing how to create programs that best cater to students' interest, the role of JLC, and a lot of event planning.
Each of the groups has a calendar filled with awesome programs, not to mention the fun things happening through Hillel. From basketball viewing parties, to career development events, to Purim parties, to special guest performances, we have so much in store for the remainder of the year. Additionally, Shabbat 300 is set for April 1st this year. This is an event where we strive to get 300 members of the UVA community together to celebrate Shabbat together.
Additionally, JLC is always open to suggestions and ideas, so if you have anything to share feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope everyone is looking forward to this semester as much as I am!
JLC Chair, Class of 2016
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,800 Jewish students on Grounds.