May 2017 - In This Issue
From Executive Director Scott Selig

Dear ,

As I finish up my first year as UConn Hillel Executive Director, I want to send a fond farewell to all of the graduating seniors.

It has been a fantastic year here, where we have seen over 850 students attend one or more program on topics ranging from social entrepreneurship, Israel advocacy, leadership development, religious celebrations, and social justice. I want to thank all of the Class of 2017 for the encouragement and support they gave m e as I ventured back into the non-profit world as your Executive Director. 

Class of 2017, you are a special group of individuals that will make your new communities as successful as you left ours. As you venture to locations beyond UConn Nation, please remember the friendships, late night discussions and joyous meals and carry on the motto "Individually Different, Collectively Strong!"


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A Snapshot Into Our Semester
Israel Fest

Over 150 students gathered at UConn Hillel to celebrate Israel at our annual Israel Fest. Students had the opportunity to learn about and celebrate life in Israel.  There were games, giveaways, food, music, free Dairy Bar ice cream, a bouncy house, and more - all the fun dedicated to celebrate Israel!  Students were able to meet representatives from different national pro-Israel organizations and learn about the different ways they can get involved in advocating for Israel on campus. 

Thank you to our sponsors:  StandWithUs Zionist Organization of America  CAMERA on Campus,  Israel on Campus Coalition , and  Hasbara Fellowships .

Interfaith BBQ

UConn Hillel was proud to co-sponsor the first ever Interfaith BBQ on April 24th with St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. Over 100 students gathered on the Hillel patio and the St. Thomas lawn to enjoy an evening of food, music, games and camaraderie.

Good Deeds Day

On April 2, the UConn Hillel community came together to participate in Good Deeds Day. 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.

Students were able to make sandwich for food pantries, packing care packages for soldiers, plant seeds to help the environment, create tie blankets that were donated to children in the hospital, swabbing cheeks for Gift of Life- a bone marrow donor matching organization, and so much more!

UConn Jewish Law Panel

UConn Hillel partnered with the UConn Law School Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA) for a career panel. 
Students were able to hear from  Jeff Ment, a partner at Silver Golub & Teitell, LLP,  Dan Gottfried, a partner at Hinckley Allen, and   Ben Wexler, a Senior Associate at CohnReznick LLP. As well as  ask questions of the panelists and network after the event.

Thank you to the brothers of 
ZBT UCONN for taking some time to help clean up the building before finals week! Here they are with Executive Director of UConn Hillel, Scott Selig!
Student Corner

Final thoughts from the Class of 2017 
We asked the class of 2017 what their favorite Hillel memory was. Here are just a few of their answers.

"My sophomore year I dressed up as Walter White (the protagonist from the hit series "Breaking Bad") and walked into Hillel for Halloween Shabbat. Everyone was infatuated with my costume and we all took pretty pictures and I felt proud of my creativity. I became close with everyone that night, and it was the start of something beautiful. It was the start of my incredible journey to venture back to Hillel every day where I would call it my home away from home. I never thought I'd become so close with everyone at Hillel, and I never though I'd learn so much about a culture I never used to be familiar with. I am more than proud to call everyone at Hillel my best friends and I'll never forget what everyone here has done for me."

"Birthright Summer 2014 was the best! It was amazing to be able to explore my homeland with my friends and even more meaningful to maintain the connections I made with other trip participants once I got back. Birthright introduced me to Israel, Judaism and Hillel. I've be into Hillel everyday since I came back."

" Playing Sardines (backwards Hide and Seek) with friends in the building during a snow day. Also, making friends with wonderful humans every single year."

"Not a specific memory, but just being able to show up and see 5-10 good friends hanging out or doing work, whether it's on a Friday evening or Monday morning."

"Birthright!!! But also just chatting with friends!"

"Too many memories to even count. I will always remember the good times I had and the lifelong friendships I made at Hillel."

Alumni Spotlight
Michele Schulman & Noa Rifkin
This month's Alumni Spotlight is a bit different than normal. Both UConn Hillel's Israel Fellow, Noa Rifkin, and Director of Jewish Student Life, Michele Schulman will be leaving us this summer. Noa and Michele have spent a number of years at UConn learning, growing, inspiring others, and are leaving campus to start a new chapter in their lives. Although they may not be traditional alumni, we think they embody everything a UConn Husky should be. We are excited for Noa and Michele as they continue on their journey and wish them all of the best in their future endeavors.

Michele Schulman
Michele was born and raised in California, and graduated from Sonoma State University with a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies in 2014. She has been working at UCONN Hillel ever since!
She was actively involved in her local Hillel, serving as the club president and lead intern for two years, as well as being part of other campus life organizations. Michele worked as the marketing coordinator for the Campus Recreation Center, while also doing programming and marketing for the Residential Student Association.

Michele believes that, "UConn Hillel is a special place. Every person at Hillel has a different background, Jewish identity, and personality - and yet each and every day she gets to watch all of these diverse people come together and become one community. It's magic. She will miss all of the little moments she gets to have every day teaching, learning, and creating a warm and inclusive space for everyone to grow." 

Noa Rifkin
Noa graduated from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Archaeology. Prior to her studies, Noa served as an Educational NCO in the IDF.  During her 3 years at university, Noa has worked as a tutor on PERACH (an empowering tutoring project), was an instructor at a children's science museum and worked as the university's internal communication coordinator.
Noa was born and raised in Jerusalem, loves exploring new places and can't pass a day without listening to music. Her favorite place is the Negev, and her biggest dream is to publish a novel.

Noa's favorite thing about UConn Hillel, "is that she feels like she completely belongs there. Although she is excited to return home to Jerusalem to begin her Master's degree in Nonprofit Management with a focus on Social Entrepreneurship, Noa will miss everyone and the place she called for the past two years".

If you would like to be featured in our Alumni Spotlight, please contact Emily at
Mazel of the Month
The Class of 2017
Mazel tov to all of our graduates! It has truly been a privilege to know and work with you over the past few years. We know that you will continue to  add to the goodness and beauty in the world and continue to develop your unique dreams and talents that make you who you are!

We, at UConn Hillel, always say welcome home. Although you may now be huskies for life, the sentiment still stands. No matter where you go in life just remember, you can always come home to UConn Hillel.

מחיל אל חיל
"May you go from strength to strength" -Psalms 84:7

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
UConn Hillel Summer Birthright Trip
MAY 15 - MAY 25

UConn Hillel is excited to take another group of students on Birthright. 39 students will explore Israel, challenge themselves and have the adventure of a lifetime!
That's all for us! Have a great summer!

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