March 2017 - In This Issue
From Executive Director Scott Selig

Dear ,

UConn Hillel just arrived back to Storrs from the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy conference in Washington, DC.  A critical part of Policy Conference is lobbying members of Congress on key issues affecting the U.S.-Israel relationship. Four thousand Young Americans from every walk of life attended this year to send a powerful message about the strength and resolve of America's pro-Israel community. 

Sophomore Noa Silverstein lead our delegation of eight (8) that included UConn Student leaders who are involved in Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, The UConn Young Democrats, the UConn Student Coalition for Social Justice, the Rainbow Center,  the Undergraduate Student Government, Huskies for Israel , a former lone soldier in the Israel Defense Force and UConn Hillel student. We were able to attend a special intimate meeting with UConn Alumni and former UConn Hillel member, David Sitcovsky, Congressman Larson's Chief of Staff.

We discussed the following issues with our Senate and Congressional Delegation:




                 (The UConn Hillel AIPAC Delegation at Policy Conference)

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A Snapshot Into Our Semester

On March 8, UConn Hillel hosted the first annual Mr. NJB (Nice Jewish Boy). The evening opened with a performance by a campus a capella group; Notes Over Storrs, and was hosted by Eliza Kanner who was recently crowned Miss Fairfield County. 

There were nine contestants, who spanned all four class years and represented all of the colleges at UConn. Contestants participated in casual wear, swimwear, a talent portion and a Q & A. Contestants were also auctioned off for dates as a fundraiser for Hillel student programming. 

After much deliberation, Josh Cohn, a freshman from Hillsdale, NJ  was crowned winner.
Check out the moment Josh was announced as Mr. NJB below!

Contestants with Emma Strumpf, Hillel Student President and Mr. NJB Judge

AIPAC Policy Conference

Six UConn students along with Executive Director, Scott Selig and Israel Fellow, Noa Rifkin attended the annual AIPAC Policy Conference. Students and staff had the opportunity to hear from different politicians such as Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, attend sessions led by experts on the Middle East, and lobby their Congressmen to strengthen the US/Israel alliance. 
LGBT Life in Israel: Film Screening & Lecture

Hillel students came together with students from the UConn Rainbow Center to learn about LGBT life in Israel. Students watched a documentary called "Oriented," which follows three Palestinians living in Tel Aviv, the LGBT capital of the Middle East, and are struggling to find their identity, both sexually and nationally.

Hen Mazzig, an openly gay Israeli former-commander in the IDF, joined the group and spoke about his experience as part of the LGBT community in Israel. 

Teen Community Shabbat

On Friday, March 24, UConn Hillel was joined by teens from the greater Hartford area. The teens were connected to JTConnect-Jewish Learning Connection, BBYO, and NFTY. Teens were able to get a taste of how exciting and enriching Jewish life at college can be. Teens had the opportunity to tour Hillel and UConn, meet with current UConn students and ask questions about Jewish life on a college campus. 

The UConn Hillel Delegation at AIPAC
Student Corner
An interview with UConn Hillel's first Mr. NJB 

Name: Josh Cohn
Year:  Freshman
Major: Finance
Hometown: Hillsdale, NJ

Why did you decide to run for Mr. NJB? 
I decided to run for Mr. NJB because I believe that I have all the great qualities a nice Jewish boy should strive for. I love talking to all my friends mothers and grandmothers, I strive to be the best version of myself that I can be, and I'm very outgoing. When I heard that there was going to be a competition to determine who the nicest Jewish boy was at UConn, I knew immediately that I had to enter.

What's your favorite Jewish holiday and why? 
My favorite holiday without a doubt is Hanukkah. Who doesn't love Latkes and presents!?

Why did you get involved in Hillel? 
I wanted to get involved in Hillel because I knew a big part of my college experience was going to be a Jewish aspect. I've grown up staying close friends with all my Hebrew School friends and I'm
 hoping to have that connection with my friends I've met here too.

What's your favorite Hillel memory? 
My favorite Hillel memory was definitely my first Shabbat. Being able to see a large community of Jewish students come together and celebrate a holiday together is an amazing thing to watch. I look forward to Shabbat every week!

What's your favorite thing about UConn? 
My favorite thing about UConn is how unique it is. No matter what you're interested in or what you want to get involved with, you can always find something to keep you occupied. For me, I found a perfect mix by getting involved in Greek Life through Alpha Kappa Lambda and being on the Hillel Student Board as Vice President of Jewish Education.

What does being Mr. NJB mean to you? 
Being Mr. NJB means that I now have a responsibility to help spread my Judaic experiences with those around me. I hope that I can share my stories and bring more people into the Hillel community.

Alumni Spotlight
Brian Zablotsky

Brian Zablotsky is a 2015 UConn graduate, where he received his B.A. in economics. Brian currently working at Beazley Insurance as an Account Administrator. Brian is originally from West Hartford CT, where  he currently resides. Judaism has always played a central role in Brian's life from attended to the Hebrew High School of New England (HHNE) to currently serving on the Board for the Young Adult Division of the Greater Hartford Jewish Federation. 

While at UConn, Brian was member of AEPi fraternity and was the Vice President of Social Affairs at UConn Hillel for one semester. Brian reflects fondly at his time at UConn Hillel stating, "It was my home away from home, it was a place I could always count on to meet new friends, study, eat, or relax."


If you would like to be featured in our Alumni Spotlight, please contact Emily at
Mazel of the Month
Jennifer Kruzansky

Mazel tov to Jen Kruzansky on her recent employment as the  Assistant Regional Director of BBYO's Connenecticut  Valley Region. Jen is a 2014 UConn graduate where she majored in Allied Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Promotion. 

Prior working for BBYO, Jen served as an AmeriCorps Member with FoodCorps and worked at a high school in Norwalk improving their school garden program and the school food. After AmeriCorps, she worked on the admin team for Teva, an outdoor education program located at Isabella Freeman Jewish Retreat Center. As the Associate Regional Director for BBYO Connecticut Valley Region, Jen works with teens across CT and Western Mass to create more meaningful Jewish experiences and provide leadership training.

If you would like to be featured in our Mazel of the Month, please contact Emily at
Are you celebrating an engagement, wedding, baby, or new job? 
Let us know!

UConn Hillel wants to share in your simchas! Let us know about your celebrations and you could be featured as our Mazel of the Month in our monthly newsletter!

Please contact Emily at to submit your mazel!

Upcoming Events

Join the UConn Hillel Grad(Jew)ate Student Organization and the Jewish Law Students Association- UConn School of Law for a career panel on 4/3 at 5pm at the UConn Law school. 

There will be time for Q & A as well as networking after the event. 
Refreshments will also be served.
APRIL 2 @ 12PM-3PM

Good Deeds Day is a global movement of doing good deeds based on the simple idea that everyone can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and change the world positively.

Featuring: sandwich making for food pantries, packing care packages for soldiers, and so much more!


Join UConn Hillel for an exciting evening with the El- Al Ambassadors. The El-Al Ambassadors are pilots and flight attendants that meet with groups while on layover to discuss life in Israel and life in the airline industry.
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