Last Monday marked the beginning of a yearly hallmark week for the Hillel community, Hillel Institute.
Hillel Institute is a place for our professionals, students, and Israel Fellows from the over 550 worldwide chapters to convene, learn, and share. I was touched to be warmly welcomed by so many Hillel professionals and students.
Here’s a short clip from my speech:
Those in attendance also heard my story of finding the Hillel at Stanford as a brand new law student. The welcoming tune of Lecha Dodi brought me through the doors and, though I had never been so far away from where I grew up, I knew I had found a home.
I also had the opportunity to introduce my family – my wife Amy and sons Sam and Charlie. I even showed off my beagles Pedro and Lulu (or, if you prefer their Hebrew names, Pinchas and Leah).
Most importantly, I shared how my professional career prepared me for the type of leadership that Hillel demands, and how my involvement in Jewish life as a teacher and lay leader brings me full circle to Hillel.
On Monday some of you heard from me, but I now need to hear – and learn – from all of you. Throughout my tenure, but most urgently this year, I need you to serve as my teachers.
We have challenges to face, but those challenges are nothing in comparison to our advantages. We are as passionate as we are diverse. Our differences should be celebrated and used to make each of us stronger. Let Hillel be our uniting force.
We are here to help students find the thing this generation of college students wants the most – a life of meaning and service – exactly what a Jewish life is supposed to be.
Ten years ago, the biggest and most popular recruiter at Yale University was Goldman Sachs. Now, it’s Teach for America. According to a recent survey of Teach for America participants, fully 45% had participated meaningfully in faith-based organizations such as Hillel on campus!
This year begins a new journey in my life. Just as the sound of Lecha Dodi led to me Hillel over 30 years ago at Stanford, the welcome I received from you at Hillel Institute convinced me that I’m always at home at Hillel. I look forward to hearing from you.