by ELIZABETH DEANGELIS
Manhattanville College’s Jewish Student Association (JSA) is encouraging the school to bring Hillel, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, on campus for Fall 2014.
JSA has allowed Jewish students to become a part of an enriched Jewish community. The club has held numerous events such as Shabbat dinners, Passover Seders, and discussions about the Jewish faith. Co-presidents Gregory Broas and Jen Weintraub are eager about the possibility of Hillel on campus. The club is working with Hillels of Westchester Program and Engagement Associate Ethan Behling to get a Hillel running for this coming semester.
“Hillel will give us a better budget and allow us to host more events than now such as Jewish holiday events and Holocaust discussions. It will draw more Jewish students to Manhattanville and allow for a more open experience for the Jewish community here,” said Broas ‘14. According to the Hillels of Westchester website, there are currently 100 Jewish students on campus out of 1600. JSA hopes Hillel will encourage Jewish students take a part more of a role in their Jewish identity. JSA wants Jewish students to feel connected with their community during their college experience. Having a Hillel on campus would be a positive experience enabling more religious diversity on campus. Broas explained that so far SGA has been very supportive of a Hillel on campus and see it as a good thing for the community.
“Hillel is an international organization and more well known then JSA, which will attract more Jewish students on campus, creating a stronger diverse religious community at Manhattanville”, said Weintraub ‘17.
Recently, Hillel has been receiving some negative feedback from the media such as The New York Times, claiming Hillel does not allow students to be anti-Israel in discussion meetings. JSA addresses these concern students might have about open discussions at Hillel meetings at Manhattanville.
“Hillel does allow discussion about Israel; however the organization does not want the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to distract what Hillel is really about, which is making a strong Jewish community on campuses where students can become more connected with their Jewish identity,” said Broas ’14, “I feel after the four years I worked with JSA, I really have accomplished something by helping student’s identify more with their Jewish faith. I know with Hillel I am leaving JSA in better hands then I came into.”