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Bruins B'Olam: Leeav Nagola

Bruins B'Olam is a blog series about Jewish Bruins around the world on Alternative Break experiences with UCLA Hillel. Alternative Break is a week-long immersive experience with students participating in community service projects with partner organizations. This year, Alternative Spring Break is going to the Dominican Republic on an education service trip; if you would like to join us or have more questions, please contact Jessica Jacobs at jessica@uclahillel.org.


Leeav.jpgWhat can I say about my experience in Jamaica? I arrived at the airport and walked outside and the world seemed to relax. I felt at peace with myself and everyone that was with me as we began to embark on our journey. Every aspect about Jamaica made me feel at peace, and when we met the host families and the community it was genuinely like going home from school. The love and care Mama J (our host mom!) gave Zak, Noah, and me was more than I could have ever expected. I'll never forget the first thing she said to us when she met us - "My three sons!" and immediately embraced us. Without her the experience would definitely not have been the same, and I don't think Zak, Noah, and I would have become so close.
Starting my journey with the elementary school was absolutely inspiring. I walked into the room full of 4th grade students who were the most wild and unmanageable group I had ever seen. But when we walked in, all of the kids wanted our attention and approval, and they all tried so hard to prove to us that they could do their school work. One kid who (according to the criticism of another student) never does his work, came up to me and lit up when I told him I could help him. There was something magical about being able to see firsthand the effects of our help in the schools, and later a college student from Jamaica spoke to us about what we had done. She mentioned that when she was in 6th grade she got to experience Americans coming to her school, and the attention she got was what inspired her to learn, and continues to fuel her drive for education to this day. She said "you will never see the impact you have made on these kids. You won't know who's lives you have saved. But believe me, you are making a difference." Hearing her perspective was so powerful and added even greater depth to the experience.

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Bruins B'Olam: Noah Lizerbram

Bruins B'Olam is a blog series about Jewish Bruins around the world on Alternative Break experiences with UCLA Hillel. Alternative Break is a week-long immersive experience with students participating in community service projects with partner organizations. This year, Alternative Spring Break is going to the Dominican Republic on an education service trip; if you would like to join us or have more questions, please contact Jessica Jacobs atjessica@uclahillel.org.


10461750_10206603530472181_8084137600956500219_n.jpgBeing someone with a good amount of international volunteering experience, I was extremely surprised by how impactful my ASB trip was. Before traveling to Jamaica with Hillel, I have never felt more welcomed into a new community. Everything from staying in the actual home of a community member to being engaged in weekly town meetings truly made me feel like a real Jamaican. Unlike many voluntourism organizations, the program that ASB chose didn't hide anything about the community from us and helped us to fully understand the local environment.

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Bruins B'Olam: Julia Feygelman

Bruins B'Olam is a blog series about Jewish Bruins around the world on Alternative Break experiences with UCLA Hillel. Alternative Break is a week-long immersive experience with students participating in community service projects with partner organizations. This year, Alternative Spring Break is going to the Dominican Republic on an education service trip; if you would like to join us or have more questions, please contact Jessica Jacobs atjessica@uclahillel.org.


Building a porch under the fickle Oklahoma sky isn’t how someone might envision a college sophomore’s spring break, but that’s kind of what mine has looked like and it’s been nothing short of amazing. From learning to use a nail gun, digging through a total of 6 feet of rock-hard ground in 2 days, playing “10 fingers,” laser-tagging, singing songs in the van with the awesome people on this trip, and watching a porch magically prop itself up in front of Mr. Perry’s house, it’s been an eventful and enriching few days. 1468625_10153070242794897_1185519776_n.jpg

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Bruins B'Olam: Yael Glouberman

Yael2.jpgBruins B'Olam is a blog series about Jewish Bruins around the world on Alternative Break experiences with UCLA Hillel. Alternative Break is a week-long immersive experience with students participating in community service projects with partner organizations. This year, Alternative Spring Break is going to the Dominican Republic on an education service trip; if you would like to join us or have more questions, please contact Jessica Jacobs at jessica@uclahillel.org.


When I saw the headlines plastered all over the internet and on television last May, I was initially horrified. For a tornado to strike an elementary school and kill seven children in Moore, Oklahoma, was a devastating reality. But as the news cycle repeated itself for weeks, I found myself desensitized, or at the very least unable to bring myself to act. Others would surely respond to the natural disaster, mitigate the damages and relieve me of my social responsibility to help in whatever way I could.

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UC Regents Debate Anti-Semitism Proposals

LA_Times_09-18-15_-_Avi_Oved.jpgLA Times: "On Thursday, UC regents debated a modern-day sequel: how to allow for free speech while protecting students against prejudice....

"UC student regent [and Hillel at UCLA student leader] Abraham “Avi” Oved, who is from an Israeli American family, delivered a passionate and personal statement. He recounted how his mother had read about an assault on a Jewish woman in Europe who had prominently worn a Star of David on a necklace and that she had warned him to be careful about wearing his. Holding up that chain and star at the regents' conference table, Oved said he did the opposite and began to wear it more openly to show his pride of being “a Jewish Israeli American.”

For the full article, please visit the LA Times.  And see below for a statement from our Executive Director, Rabbi Aaron Lerner.



The UC Regents have recently considered various resolutions with regard to intolerance and anti-Semitism on campus. I want to share with you the latest update.

Today, Jewish students from around the state advocated at the Regent's meeting to ensure that Jews are recognized as a protected minority in the UC system. They demanded a robust and specific definition of anti-Semitism, and specifically advocated for one which ensures that anti-Semitism veiled as anti-Zionism is more clearly understood and addressed.

They successfully pushed back against a proposal regarding intolerance which failed to mention the specific acts of hate directed towards Jewish students. And they succeeded.

Instead of accepting the version proposed today, the Regents will be launching an initiative to address root causes of intolerant behavior, including anti-Semitism. Further, the Regents will attempt to suggest appropriate penalties for those who commit acts of intolerance while also protecting First Amendment rights.

We are encouraged by today's developments and look forward to continuing to support our students and the UC Regents as they navigate this process with grace and persistence.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

Rabbi Aaron

 

 

UCLA announces new kosher and halal meal plans

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We're excited to announce that, to better meet the needs of students with dietary restrictions based on their religious beliefs, UCLA has begun offering a supplemental meal plan for kosher and halal-observant students. Kudos to Hillel/Jewish students on campus for pressing the university to meet their needs. Kosher catering will be provided by our very own Judith Boteach who manages our own Hillel in-house kosher cafe, The Shack!  

To read more, please visit the UCLA Newsroom.

L'Chaim to Chaim!

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L'CHAIM TO CHAIM!   SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2016


 
Please join us for a special day of learning, reflection and festivity as we honor Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller on the occasion of his retirement after 40 years as Executive Director of Hillel at UCLA. This will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Chaim as our leader and thank him for his decades of teaching and serving our community.

 

SYMPOSIUM  10:30am – 1:30pm • Hillel at UCLA

• Free and Open to the Public
• This special conference will feature talks by key figures in contemporary Jewish thought and practice, including Professors David Myers, Art Green, Deborah Lipstadt, Elliot Dorff and Carole Goldberg.
• Sponsored by Hillel at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies; Cosponsored by the UCLA Department of History.

GALA  5:30 – 9:00pm • Skirball Cultural Center

• Join us for a special evening as we gather with alumni, faculty, students, supporters and friends to celebrate all things Chaim!
• Invitation and Ticket/Tribute information forthcoming.



Visit www.uclahillel.org/chaim for more information and for registration as the date approaches.


Questions: rachael@uclahillel.org / 310-208-3081 x213

Daily Bruin Interviews Our New Executive Director

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The Daily Bruin introduces UCLA to our new Executive Director, Rabbi Aaron Lerner.

“I live to empower students … to explore life’s great questions, including questions about identity (and) God,” Lerner said. “We (at Hillel) exist for our students.”


Visit the Daily Bruin for the full article in today's issue.

Farewell Address from Student President Natalie Charney

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I first entered the Hillel at UCLA building to attend a Bruins for Israel general meeting. I walked in alone, a little nervous, and unsure of how I could contribute to the conversation. Four years later, I made my final exit, leaving the building with lifelong Jewish friends I had met through my Hillel involvement. I also left with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom which I gained from a caring, supportive staff. These committed professionals helped me develop confidence in my leadership skills and taught me how to contribute to Jewish and Israel-related conversations. Most importantly, I left with an empowered perspective that will always allow me to think critically about important issue through a Jewish lens.

 

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Announcing Our New Executive Director

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We are pleased to announce that Rabbi Aaron Lerner will officially become Executive Director of Hillel at UCLA on July 1st, 2015.

 

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