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

Hillel hires new assistant director


David M. Phillips

Sam Friedman, assistant director of Central Florida Hillel

On the heels of his return from his trip to Poland to participate in the March of the Living, then on to Israel where he spent two weeks traveling all over the Land, Sam Friedman learned on May 23 that he was promoted to the position of assistant director of Central Florida Hillel.

"I am pleased to announce that Sam Friedman is officially our new assistant director!" a please Aaron Weil, CEO of Central Florida Hillel stated.

"It feels like just yesterday I was moving to Orlando to start the next phase of my Jewish communal career as the director of Community Relations at Central Florida Hillel. I am humbled and honored to share that I have now, 19 months later, accepted the position of assistant director. I look forward to continuing to shape an organization that has already shaped me so much," Friedman said in a Facebook post responding to the myriad of congratulations on his page.

Friedman came to UCF as the director of community relations in October 2014. In this position, Friedman built relationships with off campus groups. Now, he will work more "in-house" to build closer relationships between the UCF student community and Hillel. The position offers a great challenge to Friedman as there are more than 600 student-run organizations, including 54 religious and cultural groups. The UCF student population is known for its diversity and inclusion-not many colleges and universities can make this claim. It is the largest university in the United States by undergraduate enrollment and the second largest by total enrollment. According to the rankings of the 2013-2014 academic year, Arizona State U in Tempe had a total enrollment of 60,168, compared to UCF's total of 59,770.

Friedman already has planned new programs, including the Salaam-Shalom program, a dialogue group that hopes to bring Muslim and Jewish student leaders together. According to Friedman, such programs will further build community, fulfilling one of the tenets of the UCF Creed: "I will promote an open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual."

(The four other tenets are integrity, scholarship, creativity and excellence.)

A strong believer in acceptance of other's differences, rather than tolerance, Friedman told the UCF newspaper, Central Florida Future, "We're better together when we know about each other. We like to say that America is a melting pot. I'd like to think we're more like a salad bowl. The ingredients are mixed together, but like people, they still have unique features and identities."

Heritage is meeting with Friedman to learn about the programs he plans to implement.


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