Becoming involved in Hillel was essentially the last thing on my mind when I entered my freshmen year at Elon University in the fall of 2009. I was preoccupied with the countless other opportunities I expected to get involved in and Hillel was simply not on my radar. By the end of my freshmen year I was certain I loved Elon, but I knew something was missing; I felt connected to many places and people but I was yet to find somewhere that fully felt like home on campus. I quickly identified the place I knew could fill this void – Hillel. Despite originally writing Hillel off as “not for me,” I swallowed my pride and gave it another chance. If I had not done so, I would not have met the friends I now call family or be the person I am today.
When I was encouraged by an upperclassman to join the Hillel board my sophomore fall, I hesitantly agreed. However, I instantly connected with the other board members and realized I had been missing out. I promptly made up for the year I spent avoiding Hillel and found myself hosting Shabbat dinners in my apartment, unintentionally establishing what is now an Elon Hillel tradition known as “Shabbat at Home.” I determined Hillel was definitely the answer to the missing piece of the puzzle and I was officially hooked on Hillel.
Suddenly, I was building relationships with other students who, like me, were contributing to the rapid growth of Elon Hillel. I owe it all to Hillel for fostering these crucial relationships which ignited my Jewish identity and paved the way for my continuous Jewish journey.
Shocked by the unexpected turn my college path had taken, I could barely take it all in. Before I knew it, I had held multiple positions on the student board, spent seven months living in Israel, watched Elon Hillel earn a permanent home on campus, and founded a Challah for Hunger chapter. These were all wonderful accomplishments, but most importantly, along the way, I learned about the concept of engagement.
Because I regretted not becoming involved in Hillel right away, I made it my mission to be the link between new students and Hillel the moment they arrived on campus. I began this journey by becoming an Elon Hillel Engagement Intern. The Engagement Internship equipped me with the tools necessary to engage students who, like me, had no interest in Hillel at first. I learned about the power of relationships, the impact just one person can have on an individual, and the idea of empowering future leaders. This experience enabled me to contribute to Elon Hillel and ultimately led me to pursue my first career out of college as UNC – Chapel Hill Hillel’s Engagement Associate. Because of all of this, Hillel has truly made me who I am today.
Emily Cable graduated from Elon University in May 2013 and works as the Engagement Associate for North Carolina Hillel.