FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Rabbi Drew Kaplan
Southern California Jewish Student Services
Rabbi [at] SoCalJSS.org
Event on Judaism and the Body Informs Southern California Young Adults
Long Beach, California 16 January 2012
Over the course of three days, young Jewish adults in Southern California gathered to learn about Judaism and the Body at ReJewvenation 2012. Taking place in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Irvine, and Riverside on January 10, 11 and 12, over fifty different young adults were able to enjoy the theme of “Embodying Judaism” hearing from local rabbis on the topics of tattoos, euthanasia, sex in the Bible, elective surgeries, drug use, and more. ReJewvenation 2012 was orchestrated by Rabbi Drew Kaplan of Southern California Jewish Student Services with the support of Hillel of Long Beach & West Orange County through a generous grant from the Mark Litt Family Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. ReJewvenation 2012 also reached students at UC, Riverside and UC, Irvine with thanks to Inland & Desert Hillel and Orange County Hillel to help make it a success.
“What I really enjoyed about a program like this is the diversity it allows,” said Rachel Kaplan, the director of Long Beach Hillel. “Different rabbis from different backgrounds being able to engage with a diverse young adult population helps broaden the scope of understanding of our Jewish journeys.”
“All Jews are people and all people have bodies, so we wanted to explore what there is in the Jewish tradition about what our long and storied tradition had to offer regarding bodies,” said Rabbi Drew Kaplan, rabbi and director of Southern California Jewish Student Services. “As it turns out, there are many different facets of the body upon which the Jewish tradition has to offer its wisdom and guide our lives. ReJewvenation 2012 was the perfect opportunity for young adults to come together and engage in text-based discussion on these issues that affect all of us.”
“I thought the event was eye-opening and inspiring, the topics were really interesting and the people were great, not to mention that the food was fantastic,” said Nitzan Harel, a student at California State University, Long Beach. “I had a great time and I will definitely come back for the next one.”
“Hearing from multiple rabbis, I was impressed with the depth of the subject matter and the opportunity to share my own thoughts or provide alternative points of view,” said Eric Don, a student at California State University, Fullerton.
“It was incredible brain food and getting to meet more people within the Jewish community was really nice,” said Michael Gess, a student at Riverside Community College. “I also enjoyed Rabbi Yehuda Hausman’s ability to discuss as opposed to sitting there and lecturing.”
Hillel of Long Beach & West Orange County is the center for Jewish life on campus for California State University, Long Beach and surrounding community colleges and works to provide a strong Jewish identity for students on campus to carry into their future endeavors. It creates engaging and interactive programs about Jewish holidays and values as well as encouraging students to be leaders on campuses and to shine a positive light on the Jewish people.
Founded in 2004, Southern California Jewish Student Services is an enterprise of Beth El Synagogue, a synagogue without walls, generously funded by Allen & Deanna Alevy of Long Beach. Southern California Jewish Student Services’ mission is to facilitate Jewish living and learning, creating meaningful Jewish experiences and engaging with young adults & students in Southern California.
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