Hillel student leaders from eight different universities came together to meet each other, working to strengthen their Hillels and Jewish life on their Southern California university campuses. On February 12th, twenty-six students from UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside, Chapman University, University of Redlands, CSU-Long Beach, CSU-Fullerton, CSU-San Bernardino, and CSU-San Marcos.
Activities featured Rabbi Yonah Bookstein leading a Jewish leadership study, a program marketing/promotion session led by Rabbi Drew Kaplan, and an opportunity for students to get together to discuss issues they are facing in their Hillels.
“The 2012 Winter SoCal Hillel Leadership Gathering exemplified the true quality of a successful leadership workshop, said Daniel Harris, Executive Director of the Orange County Hillel. “The students were deeply engaged and inspired. Issues and ideas related to each Hillel found a common platform for discussion.”
“Such an event is important as it not only fills avoid for regional Hillel student leadership training, but also allows for the synergy of multiple Hillels,” said Rabbi Drew Kaplan, Rabbi & Director of Southern California Jewish Student Services (SoCalJSS). “It was fantastic for student Hillel leaders to come together and seeing that they are not alone in their situation and that they have peers upon whom they can rely.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the SoCal Hillel Leadership Gathering, said Briana Booth, the UCI Hillel student president. “It was a great experience meeting with other local Hillel leaders on campuses throughout So-Cal and getting to share ideas, programs, and leadership skills with one another.”
Booth continued, “Rabbi Drew did a phenomenal job of creating activities to help all of us leaders critically think about the necessary skills it takes to run a successful Jewish programming organization, and I am able to take these lessons back to UCI with me and put them into action to further grow Hillel at UCI.”
Organized by SoCalJSS, the leadership gathering was done in collaboration with Orange County Hillel, Long Beach Hillel, Desert & Inland Empire Hillel, and Hillel of San Diego – North County and financially made possible through a grant from the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.