When I first came to UVa three years ago (oh gosh, was it really that long ago?) I knew I had plenty of different ways I could spend my time. I honestly didn’t expect Hillel would be where I would invest so much of my time. But, from the moment I arrived on grounds, it was obvious that there was no place I felt more at home. I am so proud to be a member of this community and so lucky to be surrounded by ambitious, kind, and inspiring friends.
My name is Sam and I am the incoming Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC). JLC is the umbrella organization for all of the Jewish organizations on grounds. We are made up of the presidents of each organization and a few members who work on larger, community-wide programs. These groups include the Jewish Social Connection, the Jewish Social Justice Council, Hoos for Israel, the Jewish Religious Life Council and the Jewish Education Initiative. We are the student board for Hillel at UVa, and we work hard to make sure that there is a little something for everyone so that anyone can feel included in our community.
JLC has excitedly been preparing for the new year! We have lots of fun events coming up and tons of new ways to get involved. It all starts with Welcome Week when we have an event every single day of the week! It is a great way for first years to get to know one another and to meet upperclassmen. For me, the highlight is the Welcome Back BBQ on Tuesday, August 23rd where all members of our community return to Hillel for our first big event of the year! When I was a first year, this is where I met a few girls that, to this day, I am lucky enough to call my best friends.
However, we’re just getting started! We are already envisioning an exciting (and full) semester. The Jewish Social Connection will be hosting small events all semester long, like going apple picking and hosting tailgates! But those just lead up to their biggest party of the semester: The Festival of Lights! There will also be opportunities to volunteer with the Jewish Social Justice Council and attend their annual Sleepout for the Homeless during Sukkot!
As always, you can count on your free bagel at Bagels on the Lawn every Wednesday! And get excited for two very special Shabbat dinners. Shabbat around Grounds is an opportunity for students to host Shabbat dinners at their own apartments. It’s a great way to meet new people and maybe improve your cooking skills! And we’ll be finishing off our semester with our 6th annual Shabbat 300, where we celebrate Shabbat with more than 300 people in Newcomb Hall.
And these are just our staple events. You can expect to see a lot of new ideas this year, as well. Furthermore, we want to know what's personally important to you! Feel free to share any ideas you have with either myself or anyone else on JLC. I’m looking forward to another year of good friends and positive memories.
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,000 Jewish students on Grounds.