Biblical Archaeology With Dr. Shelley Wachsmann

by Hope Beithchman, Hillel Marketing and Communications Intern

Last week Texas A&M Hillel had to pleasure of hosting Professor Shelley Wachsmann for our first Israel Coffee Talk in our monthly series. Dr. Wachsmann grew up in an Orthodox family with a father as a rabbi. At the young age of fourteen Professor Wachsmann was sent to seminary school in Chicago, which he was promptly kicked out of after one year. However, he finished his Jewish education at a Jewish high school.

Spring Semester Programming in Full Swing

by Hope Beithchman, Hillel Marketing and Communications Intern

This past Sunday, Hillel hosted its first monthly brunch of the semester. With bagels, lox, tuna salad, fruit, and lots of schmoozing it was a success. However, if you missed it don’t get too down on yourself the next one is March 6th, mark your calendars!

Upcoming events to look forward to include…

  • EVERY Tuesday 1-3pm: Chilling with D. Free. Meet up with Danielle at the MSC Starbucks for free coffee.
  • Wednesday, February 3, 8-10:30 pm: Cookies and Keeping the Faith. Come decorate cookies and watch a romantic comedy in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
  • EVERY Thursday 9-10am: Torah Thursday with Rabbi Matt at Blue Baker. This Thursday and every Thursday meet Rabbi Matt at Blue Baker on Dominik for a bagel and Torah study.
  • Thursday, February 4, 7-8pm: Israel Coffee talk at Hillel Our first in a series of Israel Coffee talks, you don’t want to miss this with Dr. Shelley Waschmann to talk about Biblical archaeology in Israel.
  • Friday, February 5, 6:30pm: Chinese New Year Shabbat
  • Friday, February 12-14: Aggie Jewish Open House. Events include Shabbat at Hillel, Dinner at Chabad, Aggieland Saturday, and Havdalah at Hillel.
  • Saturday, February 27: Habitat for Humanity. Contact Danielle if you are interested or for more information.

As always, Hillel is open for studying 24 hours a day, stop by our front office to register for a door code today!

Gig ’em From Jerusalem

by Hope Beitchman, Hillel Marketing and Communications Intern

“Forty Americans. Eight Israelis. One family.” Over winter break more than two-dozen Jewish aggies traveled to Israel on birthright! A joint trip between Texas A&M Hillel and Rohr Chabad at Texas A&M, this trip marks our largest, and first joint trip containing of Aggies.

However, aside from the thirteen-hour plane ride, upon landing in Israel I didn’t notice anything immediately different besides Hebrew writing on the signs. It wasn’t until the next day when we had our first Shabbat that I felt like I was out of the United States. We had our first Shabbat in the basement of a hotel. Although we didn’t have services in a fancy temple or at Hillel, it was still special. The next afternoon we had Havdallah services in the lobby. In America, if you were to do this someone would complain and likely ask you to leave. However in Israel, the opposite happened. People joined us! This was when I really felt like I was in Israel. It was so nice not to be part of the minority, if only for two weeks.

A Birthright Reflection From Danielle

I can’t believe it’s been a week since Bus #527 has been back in the States. It feels like just yesterday we were boarding the plane in Houston to start this adventure! During our 14 days in Israel, there was never a dull moment! Our group explored many historical sites every day and immersed themselves in Israeli culture. There were some days where the trip felt long but other days flew by. The group started as strangers but as the days went by we became a close family.

Former Hillel President Reflects on Her Time as an Aggie

by Riley Greenberg ’14

I heard about Hillel the same way that every incoming Jewish freshman does- my grandmother, of course! Not wanting to disappoint my bubbe, right after moving into my dorm I marched myself across George Bush Drive and peered into the dark windows of the oddest looking building I’d ever seen. To use one word, it was ~brown~. To use another word, it was ~triangular~. There were weird windows and the steep sloping roof of the main area basically touched the ground. Despite all of this character, the building was empty. No cars were in the gravel parking lot, no bikes were on the racks, and no humans were wandering the halls (in retrospect, there might’ve been vermin of the non-human variety roaming). Curious, but unfazed, I chocked this up to it being two weeks before school actually started…  I would have to make my return with the masses. You mark my words, silly looking Hillel building. I will be back.

2015: A Year in Review

2015 was an incredible year for Jewish life at Texas A&M. Here are just a few of the highlights!

In 2015, Hillel hosted 30 Shabbat dinners for students during the school year, including a very special Shabbat in December with new Texas A&M University President Michael Young! Young was the third TAMU president to visit Hillel!

Over 100 Jewish students used the A.I. & Manet Schepps building as a safe and comfortable place to study throughout the year.

A record 24 Aggies are currently participating in our joint Hillel and Chabad Birthright trip to Israel!

Two pro-Israel resolutions were passed by the TAMU Student Senate, including the first pro-Israel resolution nationwide of the 2015-2016 academic year.

The first on-campus Israel Fair was attended by more than 300 students who learned why Israel is so important as the start-up nation and the only democracy in the Middle East.

We hired the country’s first USC Shoah Foundation Intern who hosted several on-campus panels about the Holocaust and genocide. On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, A 24-hour vigil was held, where students, faculty, and staff read the names of over 10,000 victims of the Holocaust in Rudder Plaza.

We BTHO Texas Hillel in our first-ever Giving Tuesday competition and received an award from Hillel International for our fundraising collaboration with Houston Hillel.

Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur services were attended by well over 100 students each and dozens enjoyed wonderful weather for Sukkot in our festive sukkah overlooking Kyle Field. (The photo is of students gathering in anticipation of Rosh HaShannah evening services, followed by an amazing brisket dinner!)

Hillel Wins Prestigious Fundraising Award

Hillel at Texas A&M and Houston Hillel were jointly awarded “The Innovation in Fundraising Award” from Hillel International on December 16, 2015 at the Hillel International Global Assembly in Orlando.

Hillel CEO and President Eric Fingerhut presented the award to the two Hillels “for taking a bold and trusting step toward collaboration and the sharing of resources, yielding new gains for both partners.” The award recognizes the hiring of a joint development director, Lena Lieb, and the cooperation that position entails between the two Hillels.

This is the second award Hillel at Texas A&M has received this school year. The first was “Students Supporting Israel Award For Top Legislation of The Year” in August.

Hillel Supports New Texas A&M-University of Haifa Agreement

Texas A&M Hillel resoundingly supports the the plans of Texas A&M University and the University of Haifa to jointly establish the University of Haifa Eastern Mediterranean Observatory” (“THEMO”). This new major Mediterranean observatory will capitalize on the oceanographic and atmospheric strengths of the two institutions. The full December 14, 2015 press release from Texas A&M follows…

Welcome Chef Rube!

Texas A&M Hillel welcomes Rubing Yen to the Hillel family as our new chef! Rube started his work at Hillel in December and looks forward to the spring semester with all the excitement of Passover, Purim, and Shabbat dinners!   For Rube, food and community go hand-in-hand. There’s no celebration, holiday, gathering, anniversary, birthday, or festival where food is not a significant consideration, and he sees in food, the opportunity to bring people together. He also sees the importance and connection between food and culture. Food has an undeniable ability of bridging difference and the time-tested power to unify. Read more about Rube on our Hillel staff page.