Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Hillel creates campus community

Hillel, the center for Jewish student services at the University of Wisconsin, kicked off the new school year with kosher food, music and a lot of hugs.

The Hillel barbeque Tuesday night marked the first time many freshmen have encountered the Jewish community on campus.

University freshman Miriam Brosseau, who hopes to become a rabbi, said she went to the barbeque to become involved with the Jewish culture in her new surroundings.

“It’s great to see that so many Jewish students are so involved,” Brosseau said.

The atmosphere at Hillel was immediately warm and welcoming, she said.

“I can tell that Hillel gives Jews on campus a sense of solidarity,” Brosseau said.

Many students at the barbeque agreed that Hillel nurtures a positive environment for students to practice their religion, make friends and get involved in a variety of campus and world issues.

“This is a great place to meet people and take on leadership positions,” said junior Rachel Eckenthal. “My advice to incoming freshmen is to take advantage of what’s offered here.”

Groups sponsored by Hillel encompass a wide array of interests and concerns including theater, mock trial and environmental or political activism.

“There are so many different ways to get involved,” said sophomore Joel Bennett, who works at Hillel. “It’s not only about religion.”

Bennett said religion does form the basis for the events and the groups, however, in that they all reflect Jewish values, such as social and political justice.

Another opportunity Hillel offers, according to Hillel employee and university graduate Matt Canter, is the sense of community it affords Jewish students.

“People are looking to build a community here,” Canter said. “Hillel is really a forum for the totality of the Jew, a place where we can come together and celebrate our Jewishness.”

Canter pointed to the fact that students can stop by the office for a moment and say hi to several people they know.

“How many places on campus does that happen to you?” Canter said.

Jodie Gordon, another Hillel employee, said that in her few weeks here she can already see the impact Hillel has on student life.

“This gives students a more manageable, smaller community to identify with,” Gordon said. “It’s a place for students to feel like they belong in a huge university.”

Sophomore Josh Rosenthal agreed, stating simply, “This is our community.”

He said the university has a wonderful program for supporting Jewish students.

“We have a place to come and do things, but it doesn’t completely enclose us,” Rosenthal said. “We can still interact with the rest of the universe.”

Bennett said in addition to fulfilling his parents’ secret hopes, his involvement in Hillel is “about being comfortable.”
“Here, students feel connected with a small, intimate population,” he said.
Canter said he was pleased with the turnout at the barbeque and attributed it to the approach of the Jewish High Holy Days.
“For many freshmen, this is the first time they’ve spent a High Holy Day away from their families,” Canter said. “Now they have somewhere to go.”

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