As we try out the Hillel Center at UCLA as a meeting site we become thoroughly enthralled by our speaker for the day, Rabbi Toba Schaller. Rabbi Toba was born in Wyoming and raised in Texas by Jewish parents who instilled in her what it means to build a community and that community is what and where you make it.
Rabbi Toba graduated from the University of Texas on scholarships including one from the Rotary Club of Texas and went to work for Hillel at that time. She learned how to put people first, how to connect to others and, connect them to Judaism, self, and each other. When she turned 30 years of age, she realized she wanted to be a Rabbi.
Hillel International, founded in 1923, began with a noble mission to convey Jewish civilization to a new generation. Founded by Rabbi Benjamin at the University of Illinois it was such a success branches were formed at universities around the world. They were formed so students could connect to Judaism, grow their core values, connect with, and support each other, understand antisemitism, talk about it and advocate for their beliefs.
UCLA currently helps 2500 students connect deeper to Judaism, build community, support the State of Israel and, be inclusive of all.
I found Rabbi Toba to be interesting, entertaining, intelligent, and yet gentle. By the end of the meeting, I wanted to start attending events at Hillel!!
Thank you to Jim Crane for leading the pledge, John O’Keefe for the “thought of the day,” PP Ed Gauld for leading us in the song, “America” and, PE Steve Day for reminding us of what happened on this day many years ago.
Congratulations to David Stover on attaining Paul Harris Fellow and, thank you to Arnold Anisgarten and Sarah Huang a UCLA Rotaract for spending lunch with all of us.