Meaningful Jewish Experiences are the key to Securing the Jewish Future
Research by the Avi Chai Foundation, Jim Joseph Foundation and the Monitor Institute indicate that when a college students has four to six Meaningful Jewish Experiences per year, their propensity to make an enduring commitment to Jewish values and Jewish life is dramatically and positively impacted.
What are Meaningful Jewish Experiences?
These are interactions which serve the purpose of creating positive Jewish memories, Jewish self-confidence, Jewish knowledge and connections to community. They lead students to develop ownership of their own Jewish experiences.
Through Meaningful Jewish Experiences, Hillel increases the likelihood that young Jews will embrace Judaism - now and for a lifetime.
Most Meaningful Jewish Experiences fit into one of three categories:
Jewish Life | Learning | Israel
In partnership with more than 100 Student Leadership and Engagement Fellows, Hillel is coming close to reaching an estimated 9 out of every 10 Jewish Bruins throughout the year. In addition, we employ 6 full-time Student Life professionals who work overtime to build meaningful relationships with students through personal counsel, leadership development, education and celebration.
Hillel at UCLA is proud to have joined Hillel International’s Measuring Excellence, wherein Hillel is effectively tracking attendance of unique and repeat students to empirically measure the breadth and depth of the impact of the Hillel experience. In the categories of highest impact, Hillel at UCLA trends 10% above the national average when compared to universities with similar demographics.
Shabbat and Holidays at Hillel
Each and every Friday, Hillel is the premiere place to celebrate Shabbat at UCLA. On average, 200 students welcome Shabbat as a community with services followed by delicious, free, hot kosher meal. On Saturday, Hillel offers services and Shabbat lunch. Many times, Shabbat at Hillel has a guiding theme and special programs and speakers for further enrichment. For example, Fact-Finder alumni organized an Interfaith Shabbat with outside facilitators to engage in meaningful dialogue around the topics of Jews of color and interfaith families. The quarterly Shabbat Around Westwood program provides students with all the fixings of a Shabbat--food, ritual items, inspiration-- so that they can host their peers in their homes. At High Holy Days, Hillel offers a pluralistic holiday approach with three full sets of services: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. More than 400 students and community members celebrated all under our Hillel roof. Each and every day at Hillel, there are two Orthodox Minyans for students to daven.
Jewish Life Partial Program Listing
|- Leadership Fellows- 10 week learning commitments in a range of subjects from Life’s Big Questions to Social Justice.
- Minyan and Breakfast Club: Daily prayer followed by morning meal
- Bruin Bash: Welcome Week social activity
- PCH Bonfire: Persian Community at Hillel kickoff event
- Enormous Activity Fair: Chance to meet new students and get involved at Hillel
- TUSH Programming: yearly programs specific to the needs of Transfer students
- High Holy Days: Services, programs, meals
- Chai on Life Hiking: Alternative Shabbat experience
- Pop Up Sukkah: Sukkah all over UCLA’s campus including meals and programs
- Challah for Hunger: Baking Challah to raise money to help solve food insecurity
- JewishBREWinLyfe: Coffee for students at Kerkoff on UCLA’s campus
- ShabbAW Host Workshop: Preparing students to host their own Shabbats
- Party with Jews: Social activity with other Jewish students
- CHillel Coffee House: Quarterly open mic night/student talent show at Hillel
- Graduate Student Dinner: Occurs monthly on the first Friday of each month, also invited are young alumni
- ReJEWvenate Yoga - Beginning of quarter yoga to welcome students back.
- Weekly Shabbat Programming: Services, programs, meals, learning
- FYSH Retreat: Weekend retreat for First Year Students
- Sushi and Social Justice: student-initiated social justice program
- Hanging with Hillel - Hammocks on campus with other Jewish students
- Fast of the First Born: Passover program led by JLIC Orthodox groupPassover: Services, seders and meals
- Mr. Hillel: Purim party with a social justice angle, celebrating our student leaders
- Purim: Services, program, and meals
- Simchat Torah: Services, program, and meals
- LGBTJew: Programs, events, speakers for LGBTQ Jewish students
- Hillel Goes Green Initiative: Student group interested helping make Hillel a more green
- Operation PB&J/Operation Supply the Future for the Los Angeles Youth Network:
Social justice project through JLIC
- Knock Knock Give a Sock during High Holidays: Social justice project through JLIC
- Bruin Experiment: mentoring at risk youth in the medical field
- JWW: Jewish World Watch participation including Walk to End Genocide, Dance to Take a Stance Against Genocide, Games 4 Humanity
- Freedom Seder - Seder for Jewish and non-Jewish bruins designed around the themes of Social Justice.
- Avi Schaefer/Interfaith Shabbat- Yavilah McCoy came to speak about Jews of color and an inclusive and social justice-driven community
Weekly Jewish Learning Fellowships
Led by Hillel’s best Jewish educators, Jewish Learning Fellowships take place over the course of a each quarter. For ten weeks, cohorts of 15-25 students meet for a weekly session wherein students explore of one of three topics: Life’s Big Questions, Social Justice, and Israel. In addition there are several other groups that meet weekly together to study and learn with today’s preeminent scholars. Hillel employs a few interns per learning fellowship to further engage on-on-one with their peers for coffee dates and extend the impact of the fellowship.
Over the Winter Quarter, Hillel hosts Bearing Witness, an experiential academic course wherein 100 students meet weekly to hear first-hand from Holocaust survivors. This course attracts non-Jewish students as well as Jewish students. By directly interacting with younger generations, survivors pass on their stories to a new generation so that we may never forget. Bearing Witness occurs in partnership with the Alan Leve Center for Jewish Studies. In Bearing Witness, 100
Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC)
For more than 10 years Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and Sharona Kaplan, renowned Jewish educator, partner to provide extensive exploration of Jewish text through weekly programs such as Parsha and Pizza, Noosha Joon and learning at the Law School. They meet with up to a dozen students a day in one to one or small group chevrutah learning and provide counsel to Jewish students who seek to explore a life of Jewish tradition and halacha.
Jewish Learning Partial Program Listing
- Israel Learning Fellowship
- Social Justice Fellowship: Includes partnership with HUC, Rachel Sumekh, and Avodah
- Jewish Learning Fellowship Arts
- Jewish Learning Fellowship: Ask Big Questions
- Chevrutah with Rabbi Aryeh: One-on-One with Rabbi Aryeh to study Jewish texts.
- Chevrutah with Sharona - One-on-One with Sharona to study Jewish texts.
- Nooshe Joon: Weekly learning designed for Persian students.
- Mens Talmud Chabarah: Advanced learning
- Medical School Lunch and Lear: Weekly learning run by Rabbi Aryeh for medical school students.
- Glass Art Workshop: Unique opportunity for student leaders and fellowship students to create unique glass works of art.
- Lecture on History of Iranian Jews: Part of speaker series.
- Law School Lunch and Learn: Weekly learning run by Rabbi Aryeh for law school students.
- Hillel Speaker Series: Guest speakers come to speak to Jewish students
- Jew Q: Weekly ask the rabbi run by Rabbi Aryeh
- Hebrew Conversation Hour: run by Israel Fellow for students interested in speaking Hebrew.
- Dental School Med School Class: Weekly learning run by Rabbi Aryeh for dental school students.
- Wine and Un(wine)d: Chance for seniors to unwind and have wine with Rabbi Aryeh.
- Parsha and Pizza: Guest teachers come to teach students
Israel Experiences and Education
Bruins in Israel
Hillel at UCLA sends 80-120 Jewish students on the Bruin Birthright Experience each year. Hillel partners with Hillel International and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to create an experience layered with learning, social justice and ritual. To prepare students for an immersive Israel experience, Hillel provides preparatory sessions for students with varying familiarity with Israel and Jewish life. Students come back from Israel energized and ready to dive deeper into the Jewish Bruin life! Over winter break, Hillel sent 60 additional Bruins to Israel through a few key programs. Among them is the Hillel-innovated Fact Finding Journey, where undergraduate campus leaders (both Jewish and non-Jewish) explore the complex landscape of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Through this effort, Hillel reaches thousands of UCLA students with a positive message about Israel and our community’s personal relationship with the Jewish homeland. We focus on highly influential students on campus who have already been identified as potential future policy makers and influencers. As well, several students participated in iEngage and studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Israel Learning Fellowship
The Israel Learning Fellowship invites Jewish and non-Jewish students to focuses entirely on exploring their most complex questions about Israel. Due to popular demand, the Israel Learning Fellowship was offered in all three academic quarters, reaching over 75 students.
BFI - Bruins for Israel
Hillel at UCLA’s Bruins for Israel is the hub of the Israel community at UCLA. BFI hosts educational and social events that regularly welcome well over 200 students. BFI also hosts celebrations for major Israeli holidays including Yom Ha'atzmaut. Each year, hundreds of Jewish Bruins celebrate and honor Israel with a massive on-campus festival at Bruin Plaza with singing and dancing to Israeli music, proudly waving the Israeli flag, and enjoying Israeli cuisine.
BIPAC – Bruin-Israel Public Affair Committee
BIPAC was the recipient of AIPAC’s 2017 Activist of the Year Award. On average they send a 60 student delegation to AIPAC’s Policy Conference (one of the largest delegations in the country). Additionally, BIPAC hosts an annual Bruin Leaders Dinner, with 200 students and community members engaging with elected officials and diplomats on the US-Israel alliance.
Israel Partial Program Listing
- Bruin Birthright Israel: Immersive experience with fellow Bruins
- Hartman Seminar: Intensive learning experience about Israel and its various narratives
- Fact Finders: Immersive Israel for influential student leaders from various non-Jewish student groups on campus to visit Israel and the Palestinian authority.
- BIPAC: UCLA’s AIPAC arm on-campus
- J Street: Progressive Israel community on campus
- BFI Enormous Activity Fair: Ways to get involved in Bruins for Israel
- BFI Open Meeting: Ways to learn more about Israel
- Cafe Shachor CHazak: Israeli musical concert with a social justice angle, relating to Ethiopian Jewry, Jews of Color
- Screening of 'The Gatekeepers: Movie about Israeli security
- Forbidden Conversation: Performance piece about having difficult conversations, specifically as it relates to Israel
- BFI BBQ
- BFI Party for a Cause
- BFI's Achey Breakey Heart with Globemed, for Save a Child's Heart
- BIPAC Bruin Leadership Dinner: educational opportunity for 200+ students. Like a mini-AIPAC policy conference on-campus
- BFI Namaste Shalom: Joint program with Indian Student Union to celebrate Israeli and Indian culture
- BFI Unity Week: Response to Palestine Awareness Week
- BFI Israel Fest: Week-long celebration of Israel with learning included