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

Wishing you a happy and healthy 5781 from Rollins Hillel


September 11, 2020

Rollins Hillel students enjoying a Shabbat dinner.

What a year 5780 has been. Who would have thought that a year ago, as we were gearing up for the holidays, that we would soon be faced with one of the strangest periods that any of us have ever experienced? It has been a time of triumphs and challenges, great joys and great pains. Through it all the power of community has remained.

At Rollins Hillel, our student leaders have quickly shifted gears to provide meaningful Jewish experiences to their peers virtually. From Zoom trivia nights, to Shabbat-to-go bags, a Jewish learning fellowship and civic engagement programming, Rollins Hillel is committed to providing Jewish students with unique and innovative ways for them to connect with the community. As our students return to a new normal on campus, and will soon be celebrating the Jewish New Year, we look forward to providing a diverse offering of in person and virtual programming.

Many of our incoming first-year students will be faced with a uniquely challenging first year. As they acclimate to a new sense of independence, they are also navigating a socially distanced freshmen experience. Hillel is committed to ensure that every Jewish student feels a sense of belonging and connection to their Jewish identity. A key piece of this will be our First-Year Students of Hillel program that will match Jewish upperclassmen with freshmen. The goal of FYSH is to provide first-years with a friendly face on campus, and someone to turn to, while keeping social pods to a limited number.

This fall semester, many Jewish students will celebrate the High Holidays away from home for the first time. Celebrating the holidays this year will present students with a multitude of opportunities and challenges. We here at Hillel work to empower students to have ownership over their high holiday experience. Rollins Hillel will be streaming an in person physically distanced High Holiday services or are happy to connect students to alternative virtual or in person experiences. No matter how they celebrate they know that Rollins is there to support them as they navigate what it means to do Jewish, on their own terms.

If there is one thing that 5780 has taught us, it is that we never know what the future will bring. As we go into a new year and a new normal, we at Rollins Hillel are grateful for our students and larger Orlando Jewish community. Though it has been a year of challenges, we look forward to 5781 with hope and optimism.

L'Shana Tova! Wishing you a sweet, joyful and healthy New Year, from our family to yours!

Emily Bloch



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