Texas A&M Student Senate Passes Pro-Israel Resolution

The Texas A&M Student Senate became the fourth university in the country this year and the first in Texas to pass a pro-Israel resolution. The resolution was the inspiration of the Aggie Students Supporting Israel group and was co-sponsored by four student senators. It was brought to the floor during the Wednesday, April 22 senate meeting and after a brief discussion, it was passed unanimously.

Holocaust Memorial Day at Texas A&M

On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, Hillel sponsored two major events to raise awareness about the Holocaust. The first was a 24-hour reading of names of victims of the Holocaust from 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15 through 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 16. Throughout the night and into the day, dozens of students volunteered to read approximately one hundred thousand names of victims of the Holocaust, an unfortunately small percentage of the six million Jews who were killed in the Shoah.

AIPAC Policy Conference Update: Rabbi Matt Wins National Award

At the 2015 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C., Hillel at Texas A&M’s executive director, Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, won the “Ally of the Year” award for his work supporting pro-Israel efforts at Texas A&M. Rabbi Matt is one of three campus professionals nationwide to be awarded the Ally of the Year award for 2015. Texas A&M brought seven students and Rabbi Matt to the country’s largest annual gathering of pro-Israel activists held at the Washington Convention Center from March 1-3, 2015.  

Passover at Hillel

Passover is rapidly approaching! Please join your Aggie Hillel family for two Passover s’darim (seders) on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4. Our Hillel Passover s’darim are free for Jewish students and their immediate families. Members of the Jewish community are asked to pay $36 for those 13 and up, $18 for children.  

The first night seder on Friday, April 3 will take place at Hillel beginning with abbreviated Friday night and Shabbat holiday services at 6:30 p.m. followed by a fun sing-along active Passover seder at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room. Please RSVP on our Facebook event so we know how much maztah ball soup and brisket to prepare!  

On Saturday, April 4 our seder will begin at 8 p.m. at a very special to-be-revealed location not far from Hillel. Don’t miss this very different Passover seder by RSVP-ing on our Facebook event.  

For the non-Jewish community, we will also be hosting a model Passover seder at Hillel on Wednesday, April 8 at 3 p.m. RSVPs are required (please email hillel@tamuhillel.org to RSVP) and the cost is $10 for students and $20 for non-students, payable at the door. Space is limited and available on a first-RSVP, first-served basis.

Purim Fun at Hillel

One of the largest, most well-attended, and fun events of the year took place last week at Aggie Hillel! Our Hillel Purim Party included a Purim Spiel produced and performed by our student leadership, maroon Hillel groggers, delicious appetizers, and two inflatable play structures (a boxing ring and bungee race). Students enjoyed watching a hilarious “Tipsy Torah” video which told the story of Purim, hearing the story through the play produced by classmates, and then the inflatables were filled and students hung out and enjoyed themselves throughout the evening. Purim 5775 at Hillel was a true success!

Aggie Jewish Open House

by Emily Schneider, Marketing and Communications Intern 

The weekend of February 20-21, 2015  was spent schmoozing and introducing Jewish prospective Aggies to Aggieland at Aggie Jewish Open House. On Friday night at Hillel, we had lovely musical services led by our Jewish Student Coordinator, Veronica Beskin, and Executive Director, Rabbi Matt Rosenberg. Following services, we joined together to make kiddush and say the blessing of hamotzi over challah. After hamotzi, we made our way over to Chabad for dinner and a fun game of Taboo. It was a first great night of getting to know the prospective students.  

On Saturday, we began the night with brunch cooked by our chef, Marlo, at Hillel. Everyone had a great time getting to chat with one another. Once stomachs were satisfied, we had a Greek life panel, faculty panel, and admissions presentation. All of these presentations were very informational and helpful to the students. After the presentations, we took a campus tour to show students around. It made for a great afternoon! To finish off the night, Chabad and Hillel came together for Havdallah at the Aggie Ring located at the Association of Former Students building. It was a beautiful night.  

We thoroughly enjoyed having the prospective students as our guests this weekend. We hope to see you back in Aggieland soon for our next open house on February 12-13, 2016!

Student Body President-Elect Joseph Benigno’s Statement on the Jewish Community

Hillel student board president Dan Rosenfield solicitied position papers from the three top candidates for Student Body President. Below is the statement submitted by SBP-elect Joseph Benigno: 


I am running for Student Body President because I believe in the purpose and power of the Aggie Family. The Aggie Family is a strong and effective community in a large part because of our diversity. We come from different states, religions, races, worldviews and income levels, but together we are all Aggies. I believe this diversity makes the passion we all have for our university even more exceptional. Personally, I could not be a stronger supporter of the Jewish community at Texas A&M and the state of Israel. I was raised in a family that taught me the value and history of the Jewish people. My Polish-Italian immigrant grandfather, my father and my mother have all instilled in me a deep appreciation for Israel and have made me an avid political supporter.  

As the Student Body President, I would do everything in my power to appropriately promote and support the Jewish community on campus. I believe Texas A&M would benefit greatly from the continued growth of the population of Jewish students. I am also strongly in support of the creation of an Israel/Jewish studies program at Texas A&M. There is clearly a need for the university to have such a program to compete with other top tier universities. It came as a great surprise to me when I heard we do not currently offer this program.  

I would also take swift and decisive action against any hints of anti-Semitism on campus, and I would support any student legislation that would lead to better prevention or stronger punishments for any such action. The Aggie Family is about inclusion and respect, and any differential treatment has no place at Texas A&M. Supporting the Jewish community on campus fits perfectly with my goal to preserve the best of our past and promote the best of our future. Together, our Aggie spirit will leave a legacy for future generations. So come with spirit, leave a legacy and Go With Joe! 

Thanks and Gig ‘Em
Joseph Benigno ‘16

New Holocaust Education Intern

Hillel at Texas A&M welcomes Toni Nickel ’17 as the country’s first USC Shoah Foundation’s Holocaust Education Intern. Thanks to the support of the A.I. and Manet Schepps Foundation, Texas A&M will house Toni who will plan Holocaust education programs for the campus community.

Hillel Birthright Israel Trip May 26-June 8

This May, after finals are over, plan on your FREE trip of a lifetime! Our summer Taglit-Birthright Israel trip takes place May 26 through June 8, 2015! We’ll be traveling with students from Houston, San Antonio, and North Texas Hillels. Beginning February 3, register on the Ultimate Adventure With Israelis-Texas Trip page. Join a group of Aggies, other Jewish Texans, and Jewish Student Life Coordinator Veronica Beskin for this amazing 10-day adventure!

There is a $250 deposit required for Birthright, which is refunded at the end of a successful trip. Students are often responsible for their own airfare to and from the destination city (New York).

Taglit-Birthright Israel is an innovative partnership between the people of Israel through the Government of Israel, private philanthropists through the Birthright Israel Foundation and Jewish communities around the world (North American Jewish Federations, Keren Hayesod, and The Jewish Agency for Israel). This trip is a gift from Taglit-Birthright Israel.

Aggie Jewish Open House & Aggieland Saturday

Aggie Jewish Open House

Our fourth annual Aggie Jewish Open House will take place February 20-21, 2015, On Friday, February 20, join us for Shabbat services and a huge communal dinner. Overnight, prospective students can spend the night with current Aggies. On Saturday join us for brunch, a campus tour, a Jewish faculty panel, a presentation from Admissions, and information about Jewish Greek life. All this will be followed by a Havdalah service to end Shabbat at the giant Aggie Ring sculpture! Register Online Now!

Aggieland Saturday

Aggieland Saturday, the annual campus-wide open house, takes place on Saturday, February 14, 2015. We welcome visiting students and their families to join us for Shabbat services followed by dinner on Friday, February 13 starting at 6:30 p.m. We will also have an open house at Hillel throughout the day on Saturday (from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Please email Rabbi Matt at rabbimatt@tamuhillel.org if you’d like to RSVP for dinner on Friday night.