Funded by the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, Abbe Center for Jewish Life interns Hallie Weiss ’18, Bailey Ebby ’18 and Sarah Starks ’21 are recruiting new Hillel members to further build the community and enrich HWS Jewish experiences.
“Since Hillel and Judaism in general have played such an integral role in my life, I wanted to reach out to other Jews on campus who were unsure of what Hillel was and guide them to a spot that was comfortable,” says Weiss, a Hillel board member. “I’m so used to interacting with students who come to Hillel by choice, that I forgot about the population of students who are Jewish and don’t know how to or don’t want to get involved.”
After conversations with peers, Weiss hosted a hummus making event to connect with students who have memories associated with Jewish food. “Hillel hosts several cooking and baking events each semester, but hummus was new and different. I was excited to take it on,” she says.
Through her conversations with students, Ebby, a member of the William Smith lacrosse team, learned that many fellow athletes can’t attend Shabbat dinners due to their schedules. “Hosting a Shabbat at my house two hours after the regularly scheduled Shabbat gave me a profound feeling of togetherness for our community. I was so happy to be able to share it with strangers who quickly became friends,” Weiss says.
For both Weiss and Ebby, the internship made a lasting impact on their faith and Jewish futures. “Talking with so many Jewish students on a weekly basis forced me to think about my faith more than I would normally, it was almost always on my mind,” says Weiss. “I am definitely more willing to reach out to find a Jewish community post-graduation.”