Hitbonenut and Hillel
Hitbonenut--to be mindful and build shared awareness, adaptability, and flexibility for the current state of the pandemic and accept it as it evolves

by Chloé Laverson, President, Hillel for Utah

Summer 2020 with Hillel for Utah offered more opportunities than ever to engage students. Virtual game nights, “Everything But the Bagel” Tuesdays, and monthly Shabbats brought students, parents, and alumni together from coast to coast with their Utah Jewish community. Student leaders and staff are building from the summer’s virtual momentum as Utah’s colleges and universities reopen amidst the uncertainty of Covid-19. Virtual programming continues this fall. We’re all looking forward to this semester with opportunities for more innovative and fun programs!

This fall, Hillel for Utah offers more Shabbat experiences, virtual and socially-distanced. Virtual programming means we’re able to connect with students outside of Salt Lake City. Students have access to more Jewish and Israel educational sessions via Zoom. Tuesdays with Talia (Utah’s community shlicha), will focus on Israeli history, culture, and food. Torah and Tacos with local religious leaders is revived. A Challah Fairy will deliver challah before Shabbat. A mostly virtual Bagel Tuesday will have the schmooze factor with special guests and an occasional pre-order pick up.

Through more Jewish education and wellness programs, workshops, online discussions, and media resources, students can learn more about the diverse Jewish experience and how to build resilience in the face of antisemitism. Higher Holidays (see below) offers a menu of amazing programs for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Michael Palmer, Hillel for Utah’s community service chair, is starting a semester-long community service hours competition as we strengthen a culture of tkkun olam. We’re participating in MitzVote, Hillel’s initiative to get more college students to vote. Watch for a Reverse Tashlich, where we'll remove trash from local waterfront areas.

At the Schmooze Cruise, Hillel members, new and returning, can “cruise” by the JCC to pick up a Hillel for Utah welcome bags in a socially distanced way.

We’re maintaining the strong connections with and care for the students that make us Hillel for Utah. Our staff, Dana and Elana, host virtual weekly office hours where students can “drop-in” to chat. I check in regularly with student leaders and am working to build an even stronger awareness of Jewish campus life at the University of Utah. Student engagement chairs, Ella Abramson and Abby Rubin, are having virtual coffee dates with new and returning students. 

We’d all rather be meeting and holding events in person, but at Hillel with Utah, we’re practicing hitbonenut, while busy and thriving!
This is how we rise!
This year, the High Holidays are going to look different, but the essential questions are even more urgent in the face of the many challenges facing today’s college students," said Rabbi Ben Berger, vice president for Jewish education at Hillel International. ”This has been a tough year for students and for all of us. The High Holidays is the time to elevate our thinking and focus on how we might create a better version of ourselves and of the world.”

Hillel’s Higher Holidays, through Hillel International, will connect students across vast physical and spiritual distances to each other and to the important questions of the day. “We’re embarking on an audacious plan,” said Rabbi Berger. Robust learning opportunities with Hillel’s talented educators combined with multiple holiday livestream experiences, will feature talented performers including Grammy Award winner Adam Kantor and the orchestra from The Band’s Visit. The plan is to engage an unprecedented number of students, including those from Hillel for Utah, in deep and meaningful ways.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, Hillel’s Higher Holidays will bring together great rabbis, musicians, artists, and thinkers for live-streaming celebrations that will mix the familiar with the new, audacious inquiry with meaning, and forge new pathways through the High Holidays themes and liturgy to create an experience like no other. These livestreams will integrate student voices, including Utah's Michael Palmer who is blowing the shofar.

Parents, friends, alumni and community members are invited to attend these very special High Holidays events, also!

All you have to do is register at: www.HigherHolidays.org

There are 613 mitzvot. We consider voting the 614th,” say the organizers of Hillel’s Mitzvote campaign.

Voting and access to voting came up as a top issue for members of Hillel International’s 2018 Student Cabinet. Hillel responded with the non-partisan MitzVote campaign, believing that voting is a Jewish obligation, or mitzvah, in Jewish tradition. This get-out-the-vote campaign is designed to engage college students. Click on the Mitzvote logo above for more info.

Hillel for Utah’s Michael Palmer, community services chair, is working as our Mitzvote intern this fall to coordinate learning and civic engagement opportunities for students.
Calling all Hillel for Utah Parents!
How can college students continue to grow Jewishly when they go to college? How can they begin to own their own Jewish experience? In Utah, many students find Hillel to be a welcoming community where they can find friends. Through the Hillel lens, many students enrich their lives through education, leadership. and community service while connecting to the vibrant local Jewish community.

What's it like to be Jewish on campus in Utah? How does Hillel for Utah work with students, especially during this challenging time? Please join us for a Hillel Parent Q&A hosted by Janice Miller, member of Hillel for Utah’s Board of Directors and parent of a current Hillel student with Executive Director Dana Tumpowsky. This hour-long event is Thursday, September 3, 7 pm Mountain Time via Zoom.

Please RSVP at hillelutah@gmail.com for the Zoom link.
Wanted: Hillel for Utah Alumni
You know who you are, . .and Dana remembers you!! Hillel for Utah began as a club in 2010 and in the past ten years, so many of you helped build and create Jewish life on campus in Utah! And, just because you’ve graduated, doesn’t mean you are forgotten! Please join the Hillel for Utah Alumni Facebook group so you can reconnect with your Hillel friends and be in on upcoming alumni events such as an Alumni One Table virtual event. Special thanks to Maggie Burke (‘19) working with Mara Kushner (‘19) pictured above, as we begin to build a Hillel for Utah alumni community.
Hillel Needs Your Support!
Even during the pandemic, Hillel for Utah provides outreach, valuable Jewish education, programs and inspiration and most importantly, a Jewish campus community for students. The organization thrives through donations from individuals, parents, and alumni. They know how important Hillel is for students living in a world of uncertainty filled with increasing antisemitism, political turmoil, and social change.

Our students count on you and Hillel to be here for them in the most challenging of times. Your gift assures we can continue to deliver. Please give now at hillelutah.org/donate
Hillel for Utah students and alumni doing things worth kvelling about!
Aarya Barthel ('22) participated in The Jewish Changemakers Fellowship this past summer. This fellowship is an opportunity for personal development, building leadership skills and a network, incorporating Jewish values and wisdom into the real world, deepening knowledge of Israel, and learning how to make a lasting difference in the world today. For three weeks, along with 500 other young Jewish adults from around the world, Aarya listened to diverse global Jewish leaders in business, nonprofit, politics, sports, film, religion, and many other fields. She met with a cohort of changemakers for building connections and meaningful discussions. “For me it’s been a transformative experience, bringing me closer to the Jewish people and my personal Jewish identity than ever before.”
Alex Bochner ('19) is in the desert of Idaho nearest to the town of Gooding. He works for blueFire Wilderness Therapy as a field instructor. Alex writes that he supervises group sessions, meals, and technical skills (bow drilling, wood carving, tarp shelters, map navigation, leave no trace). Alex also provides feedback and therapeutic support to clients with their therapists, supervises a wide range of outdoor adventure activities. He performs medical aid and works to keep his cohort of boys, ages 11 to 14, physically and emotionally safe. Alex said “I have really found my voice and see potential for growth in decision making, patience, coping skills, and creating an emotional toolbox to provide useful words and space to others.”
Sally Drutman ('17) was recently hired at the Hillel of Rochester as an engagement associate. In her new position, Sally focuses on outreach, engagement, and partnering with students to create meaningful Jewish experiences. After graduation, Sally moved to Berlin, Germany to sing opera and learn German. Moved back to the states to become a baker, eventually moving to Rochester New York to start her MM in Vocal Performance at the Eastman School of Music. She enjoys songwriting, recording new music, hiking and biking all over upstate New York, and reading any and all books.
Maiya Haberman ('18) is at Boston College working on a masters in elementary education with certifications in teaching all subjects in Spanish. Maiya plans to graduate in December. She’s doing a practicum with fifth graders with an ethnically and linguistically diverse group of students. “I’m doing the social justice work I always wanted to do,” she said. Maiya lives in Brookline and pre-Covid, found a wide range of Shabbat experiences through Moishe House, her synagogue, and more.
Current students Aimee Klein ('22) and Eli Wolk ('21) continue as youth directors at Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami. Teaching at Kol Ami’s Rafi Schwartz Religious School again this year are Kayla Dworsky ('22) , Chloé Laverson ('21), Sarah Miller ('21), Jacob Olson ('22), and Michael Palmer ('22).
Mazel tov to Becca Goldstein ('14) and Jared Zitnay who celebrated their engagement with a kiddushin at the Church of Dirt in Park City, UT on August 9, 2020 which was officiated by Rabbi Sam Spector. Attending were five people and four dogs. Becca and Jared are looking forward to a marriage celebration for friends and family next year.
This summer Chloé Laverson ('21) participated in Rewired, a weekly professional and leadership development learning experience for college students through the NYU Bronfman Center. Rewired is a compilation of professional, leadership, and identity development seminars adapted for online, independent learning. She rewrote her resume, explored her leadership strengths, and made connections across the US with other young Jewish professionals. She said she’s more confident in her abilities as a leader and discovered more of her Jewish identity.

Merritt Ruthrauff ('18) is currently living in Boise, ID and working as an analyst with Clearwater Analytics, a company that does cloud-based accounting. Merritt has two amazing cats, Macy and Mittens.
Rachel Savage, whose dance name is “Bgirl Savage,” turned down a lucrative corporate finance job offer (upon graduation) in one of the largest investment banks to pursue her true passion: dancing and entrepreneurial endeavors. Savage teaches a Hip Hop program at the U of U and a local youth rehab center, performs, and does workshops for schools across Salt Lake and Utah Counties. She enjoys sharing her passion with others and promoting a healthy form of exercise and expression. Rachel says that not once has she regretted pursuing her own unique career path.
Emma Thompson ('20) is a food and resource specialist at the Redwood Utah Community Action Food Bank in Salt Lake City. "I am so excited to have a job that helps so many people during these uncertain times." The position allows her to continue working in theatre as a stage manager. . .when theatres open again.

Mazel Tov to David Tumpowsky ('15) and Madison Ayers on their recent engagement. Mad and David live in Seattle with their dog Zoe. David works as a software engineer for evo, a leading online retailer for outdoor gear. Madison is a pharmaceutical rep for women’s health products and a self improvement coach.
Special thanks to our Board of Directors
for their incredible support of Hillel for Utah students

Adam Bronfman, President, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation
and Adam R. Bronfman Family Foundation; Founder and Chair
Dr. Susan Arsht, Assistant Professor of Management, Westminster College; Secretary
Neil Kaplan, Director and Shareholder, ClydeSnow Attorneys at Law
Janice Miller, Managing Partner at Miller Haga Law Group, LLP
Stephen Morgan, Executive Director, R. Harold Burton Foundation; Treasurer
Dana Raucher, Executive Director, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation
Alex Shapiro, Executive Director, United Jewish Federation of Utah
Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, Hillel International Campus Support Director, Hillel for Utah
Dana Tumpowsky, Executive Director, Hillel for Utah
 Chloé Laverson, Hillel for Utah President, 2020