When Daniel Libenson describes his vision to a group, detailing an intricate plan to transform Jewish life on campus, he gets excited. Happily making his pitch with diagrams and figures, explaining how Hillel can more effectively connect students to Jewish life in a lasting, meaningful way, Libenson himself inspires as he illustrates Hillel’s potential to impact Jewish lives.
This year, under Libenson, the Newberger Hillel at the University of Chicago has implemented the first phase of the Jethro Initiative, a four-year model for engaging students in Jewish life as well as facilitating their growth and connection to Jewish life in adulthood. The program and the thought behind it are gaining much attention in the Hillel world and the Jewish community at large.
In a one-on-one conversation, Libenson talked about Newberger’s work with the Jethro Initiative.