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

UCF has a 'Top 5' Hillel


January 3, 2020

ATLANTA—Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, presented awards this week to recognize campus Hillels that are creating innovative experiences and meaningful connections to help students develop stronger ties to their Jewish identities. Central Florida Hillel was one of only five Hillel’s in North America to be recognized for its achievement in being among the TOP 5 with the “Greatest Growth in Depth.”

This category measures the amount of times that Jewish students on campus are connecting to Jewish life on campus through a particular Hillel in a given year and it is considered to be a highly reliable benchmark indicating the vibrancy of a Jewish community on campus. Central Florida Hillel has more than doubled the number of students it serves in this category in just under 5 years.

“We are humbled by this award which really reflects the leadership and vision of our assistant director, Danielle McKinstry, who has been the architect behind this growth,” according to Aaron Weil, executive director and CEO of Central Florida Hillel. “Through inspirational leadership of her team, Danielle has created a campus culture where Jewish students can access their heritage and identity on their terms and the growth in our numbers is testament to the fact empowering students to own their own Jewish experiences is the greatest way to grow community.”

“Central Florida Hillel serves as a model of how Hillels around the world succeed in engaging and educating students, no matter their size or location,” said Hillel International Interim President and CEO Adam Lehman. “We’re incredibly proud of our talented professionals for the work they do every day to inspire and support Jewish students and their entire campus communities.”

The awards, which also recognize those who reflect Hillel’s culture of excellence, were presented at Hillel International’s annual Global Assembly in Atlanta, attended by more than 1,100 Hillel professionals from around the world as an opportunity for professional development, networking and continuing education.

Drive to Excellence Awards recognize campus Hillels that exemplify the mission of Hillel International in its continuous efforts to identify and implement best practices to engage every Jewish student.

“This reward reflects what I see every time I visit Central Florida Hillel: students engaged with, enjoying and learning from one another. It delights me to no end that we are being recognized for achieving one of our primary goals, which is to inspire the next generation of Florida Jews to experience the depth of their connection to their identity and community”, said Eloise Stiglitz, chair of the Central Florida Hillel Board of Directors.


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