Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Charge on into the New Year!

 


As the once and sometimes Jewish philosopher Bob Dylan was fond of saying, “the times, they are a changin,” and the same can be said for Central Florida Hillel. Since the calendar switched from 5774 to 5775 a lot has changed at the little house that potential built...

Our beautiful Hillel building is now full of the noise of students studying, not studying, pretending to study, and having a good time with each other and our staff. Our community events regularly have attendance nearing 100 students, and our Fall 2015 kick off event had over 300 participants! This is because our incredible programming team, both staff and students, have created new and exciting opportunities for students to express their Judaism in meaningful and fun ways.

And on that topic, our staff has grown from two full-time professionals to nine with a full complement of skills and talents. Our five-person programming team includes an engagement associate dedicated to underclassmen and high school juniors and seniors, Danielle McKinstry; an engagement associate dedicated to upperclassmen and graduate students, Arielle Ladue; an Israel engagement coordinator, Andrew Max; and Student Leadership and Programming coordinator, Carrie Shaw. All of whom are led by our amazing assistant director, Erica Hruby, and all of whom have been here less than 13 months.

In addition to programming, we have hired a director of Community Relations to oversee marketing and branding, Sam Friedman, and a director of Development, Dan Samuels (an alumnus of Central Florida Hillel) to ensure Central Florida Hillel’s continued success into the future. Of course we still have our fearless CFO, Marc McCorkle.

Though our staff is important they all came here with the vision and goals of creating a fun, engaging, and inspiring Jewish community on campus, and so far we have made incredible strides. Our number of students impacted has quadrupled over the last year, and we have seen an increase in participation in “high impact” programming - Birthright Israel trips, Alternative Spring Break trips and AIPAC Policy Conference. We have also started hosting regular Shabbat dinners at Rollins College, and held the first ever Central Florida Hillel Passover Seder at Stetson University. Finally, we have seen the opening of The Pantry, a fully kosher (supervised under the Orthodox Rabbinical Board of Palm Beach and Broward Counties) and Hallal restaurant in the Central Florida Hillel building.

Our custom, as Jews, is to wish everyone a sweet new year for Rosh Hashanah and a meaningful fast for Yom Kippur. Our wish to the community, is a year as sweet as ours, a fast as meaningful as the changes that we have seen, and a spirited Charge On!

Students, Lay Leadership and Staff of Central Florida Hillel

 

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