Hillel seeks increased awareness

We present this article in hopes of making the current student body aware of changes that have been made within the Hillel Jewish Organization. Recently, Lester Rubenfeld was appointed as a faculty advisor. He will assist us in increasing awareness of Hillel amongst the Rensselaer community, and, when necessary, will interject on our behalf. He will also work with us to integrate the organization with the larger Capital District Jewish community, as well as with other Hillel chapters.

A little about Hillel: For those who are not aware, it may be surprising to hear that there is a Jewish organization on campus. It is a chapter of a national organization called Hillel, which is widely regarded as “the foundation for Jewish campus life.” The history of the Jewish religion on campus is not well documented, but we have heard stories now and then of a time when RPI had a very large Jewish population. Currently, we estimate that at least 5 percent of students at this school, and possibly as many as 20 percent, could be Jewish. Despite this fact, membership is, relatively speaking, rather low. Without a strong Jewish presence on campus, students can lose touch with their heritage; however, we have been making some progress recently that could help lead to a comeback.

We have begun hosting free Shabbat dinners every Friday night around 5–6 pm. Students are welcome to attend these dinners, which are held in the Shelnutt Gallery,

Also, we have noticed a renewed interest in Jewish life. Our events have been getting more crowded and there has been a greater interest in officer positions. As a result of this renewed student participation, we have been able to hold events on a weekly basis. We welcome Jewish students of all levels of observance, and hold not only religious events, but numerous social ones as well. Whether your goal is to practice the religion, relax, do something fun after a stressful week, or to simply meet other Jewish students, you will find the opportunity at RPI-Sage Hillel.

However, the club can only continue to grow if student participation remains strong. We are open to event suggestions and we are trying to mix things up as often as possible. You can find out more by visiting our website at http://hillel.rpi.edu/ or contact us at hillel@rpi.edu.

Daniel Hakimi

BFMB ’12