Here's to 5780 and an opportunity for a new lease on life!
September 20, 2019
The Jewish New Year will soon be here and we will wave "goodbye" to 5779 and welcome in 5780. For many of us, there will be plenty of reasons to close out the year and eagerly anticipate 5780 because after all, it comes with a clean slate. It is one of the most powerful traditions in the Jewish canon, the belief that a) we are empowered to take control of our own lives and b) that every year we get another chance to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.
This annual Jewish tradition of casting off our past with the promise of an opportunity to be given a new lease on life is not all that different from what we see each fall on campus.
Each year, thousands upon thousands of Jewish college students from all over Central Florida, and indeed the world, come to attend our fine universities. Rollins College, which just got named by U.S. News and World Report as the No.1 College in the South, is not only a place that Jewish students are coming to in order to learn and grown and connect with others, it is also home to one of the fastest growing Hillels in the country. With double and triple growth in several categories since we launched two years ago, the campus is now starting to show signs of a real Jewish community and the word is obviously getting out because we see more and more students joining that community than ever before at Rollins College.
Meanwhile at UCF, which U.S. News and World Report just ranked No.16 in the U.S. for Innovation is at the top among Florida's universities in this category. In fact, UCF ranked higher than several Ivy League universities, including Cornell, Harvard and Princeton!
Before the Jeffrey and Diane Ginsburg Center for Jewish Student Life, the 6,000 Jewish students at UCF had no place to go when they wanted to find a safe place where they could be accepted and grow into their adult Jewish selves.
Today, our students have heretofore unimaginable resources like our partnership with Yehudi which brought Rabbi and Tamar Abisror to our campuses. Our students enjoy incredible opportunities to explore their new identities through heavily subsidized trips to Spain, the UK, Italy and Israel. These trips are designed to provide our students with the opportunity to explore their heritage while expanding their horizons.
And in just five years since the Ginsburg Center opened, we have grown to be the top destination in Florida for students looking for both a great education, as well as an incredible community. This is just one reason why the David Posnack High School (the largest Jewish private school in Florida) is sending more students to UCF this fall than any other school in the nation.
Change is hard but it doesn't have to happen in a vacuum or by itself. I am grateful that we have a Ginsburg Center to support those today who will be supporting us all tomorrow. So here's to 5780! If this isn't enough to make you optimistic about the coming year, please reach out to either of us and we will be happy to share the rest of the story! In the interim, on behalf of us all at Central Florida Hillel, best wishes for a Happy and Sweet New Year!
Dr. Eloise Stiglitz
Chair of the Board of Central Florida Hillel
Executive Director and CEO