Rabbi Matt is Visiting San Antonio

Join Rabbi Matt Rosenberg at a reception to be held during his first visit to San Antonio, on Sunday February 23 from 3-5 p.m. at Agudas Achim Congregation, 16550 Huebner Road in San Antonio. Rabbi Matt will be joined by Hillel Corporate Board Co-Presidents Paul and Tina Gardner. Rabbi Matt and the Gardners will provide an update about the activities of Hillel at Texas A&M and the Jewish community at Texas A&M. The event will also be an opportunity to get to know Rabbi Matt one-on-one during the reception. Please RSVP to Rabbi Matt at rabbimatt@tamuhillel.org.

Torah Tuesdays With Rabbi Matt

Rabbi Matt’s cycle of Tuesday night learning resumes on Tuesday, January 21. On Tuesday nights from 8-9 p.m., explore a variety of topics within Judaism. Once a month Rabbi Matt will feature a specific aspect of social justice that will include studying the textual sources for that topic. The complete schedule is below and all classes are taught at Hillel, usually in the first floor library:

 

February 18 – No Class – Israel Soldier Stories at 7 p.m.

February 25 – Purim

March 4-18 – No Class

March 25 – Sickness and Death in the Jewish Tradition

April 1 – The Exodus and the Passover Story

April 8 – Know Your Passover Seder

 April 15 – No Class

April 22 – Spring and Summer: Why June isn’t a Popular Wedding Month for Jews – Everything Between Passover and Tisha b’Av

April 29 – Social Justice – Our Planet and the Environment

 

Love & Sex in the Jewish Tradition

What does Judaism have to say about sex? Where can we find stories of love in the Bible and the Talmud? Doctoral student Ruth Tsuria will be teaching a class titled “Love and Sex in the Jewish Tradition” every Friday afternoon before Shabbat services at Hillel, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., throughout spring semester 2014. The class is free for students and begins on Friday, January 17, 2014.

 

The course will begin focusing on the relationship between Adam and Eve, move into the family relationships of Avraham and Sarah and their descendants, and will explore concepts of the mikveh and stories of love in the Talmud. Each class will include open discussion of how Jewish values on love and sex differ from the culture around us. Attendance at each session is not required but you won’t want to miss a single class! Ruth has studied religion in Jerusalem and Copenhagen and is working on her doctorate in the Texas A&M Department of Communication, focusing on digital religion.

Report From Birthright

This report from our Aggies’ Taglit-Birthright Israel trip last month comes from Emily Schneider.

The pre-trip nerves had begun. I was thinking of all the unfamiliar people I would meet and places I would see. It was almost kind of frightening. But, the day was here and there was no turning back now; I was Israel-bound!

So for the next 40 hours, I would travel through Los Angeles and London before finally reaching my destination. It was an interesting and long 40 hours of traveling – especially when you’re with 30 new people you’ve just met.

Once we landed safe and sound in the Holy Land, we hopped on what would end up being our bus for the next 10 day and we went along for the ride. Exhausted, yet excited, we were all looking out the windows to see what we had been waiting to see for so long. Our first stop – the coast of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea, and boy, what a site was that! Unbelievable! I had only heard about the Mediterranean Sea in geography class, and had only learned about Tel Aviv in Sunday School class.

Over the next couple days I would experience so much. From riding camels to watching the sunrise on the Sea of Galilee; from pushing our way through the Shabbat-crazed shuk to hugging one another while standing at the Western Wall – it was all so amazing to say the least. Out of all the things we did, making new friendships and strengthening old ones was my favorite experience. I met some of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met, and became so much closer with the people I already knew.

Over the course of the 10 days we were all together, we became extremely close. If one person was having troubles of some kind, whether they weren’t feeling well or were having trouble hiking down the Snake Trail at Masada, we all had each others’ backs. It was incredible to see the love we had all created for each other over this short period of time. I was truly blessed to have been a part of such an outstanding group of kids, and I hope to keep in touch with the great people I met and become even closer with those I already knew. Until next time, Israel!

Our next Aggie Hillel Taglit-Birthright Israel trip will take place in May, right after finals and graduation. Registration begins on February 19 at freeisraeltrip.org. For more information, contact Veronica Beskin at veronica@tamuhillel.org.

Dallas Jewish College Fair a Success

With participation from seven Hillels from Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas and dozens of high school students, the first Dallas Jewish College Fair was a success. The event, held at the JCC in Dallas on Sunday, January 26, provided the opportunity for Dallas-area Jewish students to do some one-stop shopping to learn about Jewish life at campuses throughout the region. Texas A&M Hillel director Rabbi Matt Rosenberg was joined by a representative from the university’s admissions office, who was able to answer students’ questions about admission and the more than 90 academic programs offered at Texas A&M. At the A&M table, also staffed by Hillel board members, the Aggie team promoted the upcoming open houses in February – Aggieland Saturday and the Aggie Jewish Open House. Due to the success of the fair, regional Hillel leaders hope to sponsor an annual series of college fairs in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Oklahoma City.

Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem Conference

“Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: 50 Years On” is a conference commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem at the Melbern Glasscock Center for Humanities Research on January 24-25, 2014. The conference will be kicked-off with the screening of Michaël Prazan’s documentary The Trial of Adolf Eichmann on January 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. This conference is part of a two year series entitled “World War II and its Global Legacies.” Conference proceedings will include topics relating to the trial, Arendt’s philosophy, our understanding of Nazism and totalitarianism, human rights, international law, and more. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

Tu B’Shevat Seder

Ever been to a seder for Tu B’Shevat? Now’s your chance! Our Hillel Tu B’Shevat Seder will take place on Wednesday (Jan. 15) from 7 to 8 p.m. at Hillel. This unique seder includes only foods that grow on trees. This holiday is also known as the Feast of Fruits and the New Year of Trees. The rest… you’ll have to come see for yourselves!

Experience Israel

A bunch of Aggies have just experienced Israel for the first time on free winter break trips sponsored by Taglit-Birthright Israel. Now they’re back and it’s time to hear their stores and share your own! Join us on Monday, January 20 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Hillel for Israeli food, hear stories from our recent visitors to Israel, and learn how YOU can go to Israel for free through Birthright! Birthright registration for our free Summer 2014 Hillel Israel trip begins on February 19, 2014. At that time, you can register at http://freeisraeltrip.hillel.org/! Meanwhile, come learn about Israel and enjoy some tasty Israeli food on Monday the 20th.

Brandeis Collegiate Institute and Fondue Event

Come learn about an amazing and inexpensive program this summer in Los Angeles and enjoy some delicious desserts on Tuesday, January 14 at 6 p.m. at Hillel!

The Marilyn and Sigi Ziering Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI) is an intensive experience in Jewish learning, culture and community offered to young adults, ages 18 to 26, at our summer camp in Southern California. It is a 26-day exploration of Judaism, community, and self within a safe, pluralistic environment. BCI brings together young Jews from all over the world to study with some of the most compelling and talented scholars and artists. Apply by the early bird deadline of March 12, 2014 and the cost is only $250 for domestic participants and BCI will reimburse your airfare! BCI 2014 will take place from June 17 to July 13. For more information and to apply please see the BCI website, http://bci.aju.edu/.

BCI assistant director Amanda Sissman will be at Hillel next Tuesday night to share more information about this incredible summer learning opportunity!

Crypto-Jewish Conference January 19-20 at Hillel

The Abe and Annie Seibel Center for Crypto-Jewish Studies and Hispanic-Jewish Relations will be hosting its first academic conference for 2014 on Sunday and Monday, January 19-20, 2014.

The conference is free and open to everyone.

The conference schedule is as follows:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Concert of Sephardic Music performed by the Bibicos from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.
Coffee and cake: 8:45-9:00 p.m.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rabbi Peter Tarlow, Ph.D and Dr. Maria Ferrier: Welcome and Setting the Stage from 9-9:30 a.m.

Dr. Armando Alonso: The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Experience from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Dr. Hilaire Kallendorf: Losing the Self: Inquisitorial Scribal Mediation and the Paradox of Crypto-Jewish Autobiography from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Lunch from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Either at the Hillel Building or on your own. (Cost for Hillel lunch $10.00 per person)

Dolores Sloan: Writing Fiction About Crypto Jews: Identity, Appropriation and Agency from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Dr. Ethan Katz: North African Jews in Disguise During the Holocaust: How Far From Al-Andalus? from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Dr. Marie-Theresa Hernandez: Enigmas of Identity: Claiming Jewish Ancestry Five Centuries After the Inquisition from 3:00-4:00 p.m.

David ben Yosef: Sabbateanism and the Marrano Experience from 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Closing at 5:30 p.m.

For more information or to register please visit: www.hispanicjews.com