Organization sends students to Israel
Shalom – a word in Hebrew that means hello, goodbye and peace, is shared between fellow members of Hillel, who spend several nights a week together socializing while learning about Jewish culture.
Pierce and Valley Chapter Hillel member David Chernobylsky, who has been president for a year and a half, has noticed an increase of members from last semester to this semester.
“It’s a gradual process of accumulating new members,” he said. Not only do we see new members at the beginning of the semester, especially during Club Rush, but throughout the whole semester.”
With close to 20 members of Hillel just at Pierce College alone, the club recently merged with the Hillel at California State University Northridge, to become a bigger community.
“It’s important to strengthen the Jewish bond especially in the San Fernando Valley, where Hillel at Pierce and Valley has now become Hillel 818 after merging with CSUN.” said Chernobylsky.
Throughout the year, Hillel offers many programs to strengthen the Jewish identity of college students consisting of holiday celebrations, arts and culture programs and guest speakers.
This past semester, Hillel had a holocaust survivor speak to a full house of new and returning members.
“It’s still so important to learn about the holocaust,” said Chernobylsky. “I had several people come up to me and tell me how happy they were to have attended the event.”
The club also hosts events learning about culture, tradition and Torah.
Their last thought provoking event was a discussion about how tattoos are becoming more and more culturally acceptable in Judaism. Whereas from past conservative generation, if a Jewish person had a tattoo, they couldn’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
Friday nights are for Hillel students to partake in Sabbath dinners of food, festivities, prayers and meeting new people.
Sponsored by Taglit-Birthright Israel, this organization gives Jewish students between the ages of 18 to 25 the opportunity to go to Israel for free for 10 days who have never been there before.
“It’s a great way to become more connected to the Jewish community and more involved with Hillel.” said Chernobylsky after returning from Israel and wanting to become more involved with the club.”
For more information about Hillel, contact their CSUN office at (818) 886-5101 or www.hillel818.com