Campus Affairs & Student Engagement

Mensch’s Guide to Campus Activism

Guide to Campus Activism

A Mensch's Guide to Campus Activism
Connecting college students to worldly issues.


The Hillels of Illinois
Regional Programs
30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
phone: (312) 444-2868
fax: (312) 855-2479

Lewis Summer
Intern Program
The Hillels of Illinois
30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
phone: (312) 444-2868

College Blog

Hillel Blog

UIUC Hillel’s Erez Cohen Brings Israel to our Students

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Erez Cohen 

Our very own Erez Cohen, a second year Sheliach at the University of Illinois Hillel/Cohen Center for Jewish Life, has been recognized as one of the Outstanding Shlichim of 2010 by the Jewish Agency for Israel. Erez has done a ton of work with students, helping them to gain leadership skills within organizations around campus. He has raised Israeli awareness by educating students about Israeli culture, Hebrew, and Israeli current events. Erez's ability to make connections with students is exemplified by the many passionate students he works with. One of his students, Alexandra Rudoph, had this to say: had this to say: .

"Erez is one of a kind, filled with connections, experience and knowledge about Jewish life and Israel. This winter, I went on Birthright-Shorashim and Erez was one of my trip leaders. With Erez as my trip leader on Birthright- Shorashim, my experience changed my life. Visiting Israel was a monumental stage in my life and Erez triggered and witnessed the beginning of my passion for Israel. Because of his devotion to building American and Israeli ever-lasting connections, Erez encourages and helps students return to Israel. He is a major lifeline to the strong Israel advocacy network on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Without Erez, my knowledge, passion, and excitement about Israel would be minimal."

Erez's teachings about how to advocate and be the voice of Israel is clearly represented through the passion that the students at the Cohen Hillel exhibit through their devotion to Jewish life and Israel on campus.

Erez makes connections with students in a way that makes his passion and love for Israel contagious. Erez sent a record number of participants on Masa programs in Israel this year; and received another honor for his efforts. . "Both of these awards are a product of the remarkable support I receive from JUF and the Hillels of Illinois", Erez states. He also mentions that none of his work would have been possible without the tremendous support and teamwork from his colleagues, Aimee Weiss from Masa, and Emily Briskman, from JUF's Israel Center.

Erez was motivated to become a Shaliach after being an Israeli participant in Birthright. As a graduate student at Tel Aviv University at the time, Erez felt that "doing Shlichut was a wonderful opportunity to experience international work and expose (himself) more to the Jewish world at the same time". While this has been a great experience for Erez, the Hillels of Illinois has also been rewarded with his hard work and dedication to students' growth and development as members of the Jewish community.

Katie Keidan is a Lewis Summer Intern at the Hillels of Illinois 

A Day in the Life of a Summer Intern

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Katie Keidan 

By Katie Keidan

Most students would say that they feel surrounded by Judaism more at home than away at college. I anticipated feeling similarly but was pleasantly surprised. Hillel on my campus has given me opportunities to meet fellow Jews, something I never looked forward to doing when I was younger going to religious school. But Hillel was different because it was my choice, on my time, with people who ended up becoming some of my closest friends.

Because of the Hillel at my school, I was presented with an opportunity to stay connected to Jewish life over the summer through the Lewis Summer Internship in Chicago. I went through the application process and was grateful to be one of the twenty-nine college aged young adults accepted. At orientation, I met a number of like-minded individuals. Some I had lots in common with, others were different from me but it didn't take long for all of us to become a unified group. Jewish geography linked us all in one way or another and I was excited to continue to get to know everyone better. This internship is unique in that we meet twice weekly to develop professional skills and enhance our Jewish sense of self through networking and group discussions on Jewish topics.

Once work actually started, I all of a sudden felt like a young professional. I was given projects and responsibilities and while I was still only an intern, my supervisors instilled within me a sense of pride in my day-to-day contributions. I follow the examples set before me, and watch and observe. I try to take in all the details whether it is how to answer a phone or how to effectively reach the Jewish community through a newsletter. My supervisors have been fantastic at making sure that everything I do, I walk away learning something from it. Because of this internship I have written a portion of a newsletter, attended a governing commission meeting, learned how to use donor software and so much more only in five short days.

Having completed my first week as a Lewis Summer Intern, I can confidently say that this eight week program will be one filled with new goals, new accomplishments, new talents, new challenges, new networks, new contacts and new friends. I have already gotten a little taste of all of these new things, and I am proud to say that the Hillels of Illinois has given me this opportunity to grow and develop as a young professional and as a member of the Jewish community.

Fiedler Hillel Torah Dedication and Ceremony

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By Katie Keidan

While some might view dancing a Torah into a dedication ceremony as out of the ordinary, it is nothing but an annual tradition in the eyes of Ira Lipman and his family. Every year on the yarhrtzeit of Lipman’s father, Mr. Lipman has made the very generous donation of a complete Torah to honor the life of his father; and this year was no exception. The Hillels of Illinois’s Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University was this year’s privileged recipient of the Lipman family’s 17th dedicated Torah. Michael Simon, the executive director of Fiedler Hillel, Rabbi Josh Feigelson and the rest of the faculty and students at Northwestern could not be more grateful.

The dedication ceremony on June 15th lined up with Northwestern’s commencement which would occur the following day. Many alumni-to-be and their families were able to attend the momentous ceremony; it really reinforced the concept of l’dor va’dor, from generation to generation, exemplified by the Lipman family, and the seniors graduating as well. To executive director of Fiedler Hillel Michael Simon, “The idea of l’dor ve’dor describes how each generation receives Jewish traditions and ideas and knowledge and hopes and dreams from the previous generations, a chain extending backward for millennia, and then passes it all along in old and new forms, revised and developed, to the next generation and, we pray, toward an ever- brighter future.” The tradition of the Torah is a powerful one, and Fiedler Hillel is fortunate enough to reap the everlasting benefits that the Torah provides.

The dedication ceremony was intimate in the sense that most everyone present received the opportunity to participate. The Sofer, the one who writes the Sefer Torah, had written all but the last few words which would be completed by students, Hillel faculty, and the Lipman family. At every Torah dedication, Mr. Lipman completes the Torah writing with the last letter in honor of his father. At a Torah dedication ceremony at Philly Hillel, when asked why Mr. Lipman continues to make these generous donations around universities across the nation, he answered, “It’s very therapeutic; it’s very selfish in a sense. It’s a feeling of taking a stand when I say Kaddish. Because I love my dad, and I had a great relationship with him,”

Mr. Lipman’s charitable donation is one for which Fiedler Hillel is forever grateful. Maintaining strong connections with Jewish culture and heritage in order to be a productive member of the Jewish community is a priority of the Hillels of Illinois. Setting an example for students of what it means to be an active member of society and to give back whenever possible is a value that was most definitely conveyed to students through this donation. The Fiedler Hillel is a proud recipient of this brand new Torah and they are honored to be part of such a beautiful tradition. 

Torah Dedication Ceremony 

Fiedler Hillel Torah Dedication 

Torah Dedication and Ceremony 

Fiedler Hillel Torah Ceremony