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.

Aggieland Hanukkah Bash a Success

More than one hundred students, faculty, and Jewish community members attended the annual Aggieland Hanukkah Bash held in Rudder Plaza on Monday, December 7, the second night of Hanukkah. The evening began with remarks by Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, Texas A&M President Michael Young, and Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff of Chabad followed by the lighting of Chabad’s 13-foot-tall Hanukkah menorah.

President Michael Young lit the shamash of the menorah followed by Rabbi Yossi who sang the blessings and lit the two candles atop a ladder. Following the lighting, the community moved indoors into Rudder Exhibit Hall to enjoy potato latkes, suganiout (donuts), arts and crafts, and Hanukkah music. Hillel co-sponsored this event along with Congregation Beth Shalom, Chabad, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and Sigma Alpha Mu. The Eagle covered the Hanukkah Bash on the front page of the December 8 edition.

President Young Spends Shabbat at Hillel

New Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young spent Friday night, Dec. 4, with Jewish students and faculty at Hillel. The president addressed the group in the sanctuary before Friday night Shabbat services about the importance of a diverse campus and answered questions on a wide range of issues. President Young talked about his involvement with the Jewish community while a faculty member at Columbia University in New York and his role as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, upon which he served for eight years.

Among other topics, students and faculty asked president Young about increased study abroad opportunities in Israel, about the expansion of Hebrew as a foreign language, and about next fall’s impending campus carry policy.  Young told the assembled group of over 100 that he was quite interested in hearing what the Jewish community had to say.

President Young’s visit to Hillel is the third university president to visit Hillel in the last decade. Robert Gates and Elsa A. Murano each visited Hillel during their terms in office.  Michael Young started his tenure as president of Texas A&M on May 1, 2015.

Thank You!

Thank you to those who supported Hillel at Texas A&M by impacting the lives of Jewish students on Giving Tuesday! With your help, we won the first #HillelShowdown and raised over $19,000 (all of which will be matched dollar-for-dollar) to support Jewish life at Texas A&M. We look forward to Rabbi Daniel Septimus of Texas Hillel coming to College Station to sport maroon and Gig ‘Em! Thank you for taking time out of your day to invest in our students!

 

It’s not too late to help though! Donations through January 15, 2016 will be matched (up to $50,000) so if you weren’t able to donate on Giving Tuesday, please consider a year-end gift to Hillel to support Jewish life in Aggieland! Donations can be made security online or please send a check to Hillel, 800 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840. Thanks and Gig ’em!

Aggie Cadets Attend Jewish Warrior Weekend

From November 13th through 15th, three Jewish Aggie Cadets spent the weekend at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York for Jewish Warrior Weekend. Jewish Warrior Weekend is an annual event coordinated by the Jewish chaplain of the West Point Jewish Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy. Rabbi Major Henry Soussan brings together Jewish cadets from all of the service academies for a special Shabbat experience at West Point.

 

Cadets experience Shabbat services at the chapel, enjoy a Shabbat dinner, and attend a football game. The Jewish Warrior Weekend program was designed to give Jewish cadets a chance to build relationships with their future comrades-in-arms who are also “Members of the Tribe.” Cadets and midshipmen from West Point (Army), Annapolis (Navy), The Air Force Academy, The Coast Guard Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, and Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets attended the 2015 Jewish Warrior Weekend. The participation of A&M cadets was generously sponsored by the Corps of Cadets.

Divided by Tradition; United in Giving

This year, Hillel at Texas A&M is going head-to-head with t.u. Hillel in the first #HillelShowdown to prove which Hillel is most spirited in giving back. #GivingTueday is a global movement to celebrate giving and kick-off the holiday giving season. On Tuesday, December 1, you can make a big impact on Jewish Life in Aggieland by making a donation to Hillel at Texas A&M. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the #HillelShowdown and help us BTHO t.u. Hillel!

Meet Danielle Freedman, Our New Jewish Student Life Coordinator

Why is Hillel important to you? To me, Hillel is far more than just a Jewish Center. As an undergraduate, it was my “home away from home.” The Bloom Hillel Center at the University of Alabama will always have a special place in my heart. It was a place where I met Jewish friends for the first time, a place where we gathered every Friday night for Shabbat and a place where I grew closer to my Jewish identity. I fell in love with Hillel at Alabama, which is why I am so happy to start my professional career by joining the Hillel team and the Aggie family. I’m excited to see what the future holds and to work with students to make their experience with Hillel here at Texas A&M as wonderful and as memorable as mine.

Student Spotlight: Rebecca Waronoff

Howdy! I am a senior psychology student at Texas A&M University. The moment that I joined Hillel my sophomore year, I knew that it was going to be a big part of my life. Of course, I could never imagine the extent to which I was correct. It only took one semester for me to decide to join the Student Board and in my junior year I was appointed Vice President of Shabbat and Holidays, working alongside some of the nicest and most inventive people that I could ever hope to work with. At the end of my junior year, I was elected Hillel’s Student Board Chief of Staff and I happily accepted, thrilled to play a greater role in such a great organization.

As Chief of Staff, I have really enjoyed helping guide the Student Board in planning social events, religious events, and Friday night services. On a personal note, just a few weeks ago I received my Aggie Ring. Rabbi Matt Rosenberg and Danielle Freedman accompanied me to collect my “little ring made of gold,” and helped me celebrate one of the most exciting experiences of my Aggie life. Both Rabbi Matt and Danielle have helped me grow as a leader at Hillel and in my studies, so their attendance was valued tremendously. As I finish up my last year at A&M, and even in the future, I expect that Hillel will continue to be an essential part of my life and I look forward to all of the experiences this organization has to offer. -Rebecca Waronoff ’16

Texas A&M Student Senate Passes First Pro-Israel Resolution

The Student Senate of Texas A&M University unanimously passed the country’s first pro-Israel student government resolution on Wednesday, October 7. The resolution, “A resolution supporting the nation of Israel from the Student Senate of Texas A&M University,” called upon the university to invest in Israel and to expand study-abroad opportunities for A&M students in Israel.

This is the second pro-Israel resolution passed by the Student Senate in two years but while last year’s resolution was the fourth in the nation, Aggie student senators wanted to be among the first this year.

Student senators Joseph Hood and Kasey Khoobiar sponsored the resolution, which was introduced by five members of the group Aggie Students Supporting Israel (ASSI). ASSI member Jacob Arnett was instrumental in the crafting and adoption of the resolution. Arnett stated, “Texas A&M continues to show its support for Israel. In this time of challenge for the state of Israel, it’s gratifying that my university supports the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, executive director of Hillel at Texas A&M stated, “Texas A&M continues to be a campus community that is very supportive of Israel. Along with that support of Israel comes a very welcoming environment for Jewish students.”

Students, Staff in St. Louis for Hillel Institute

Every summer, Hillel International sponsors Hillel Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. Hillel Institute is a organization-wide training opportunity for students and staff alike. This year, four students and three Hillel at Texas A&M staff attending trainings at Hillel Institute in early August.

Our four students attended engagement institute, which provides training to our cadre of engagement interns to meet Jewish students over coffee and talk to them about their Jewish journey. Our Aggie interns-to-be and Rabbi Matt joined with students and staff from Miami University of Ohio and Mizzou for three days of training that culminated in a massive Hillel Shabbaton.

New Hillel staffers Danielle Freedman and Lena Lieb participated in new professionals training, designed to connect new professionals to the Hillel International mission, goals, and network. Rabbi Matt also participated in Israel Action Program training to learn more about supporting Israel on campus. Overall it was a incredibly successful Hillel Institute that helped the entire Aggie Hillel team get ready for the upcoming semester!