Fall 2021

The Berman Family—Celebrating an Enduring Commitment to Jewish Life

By Joyce Romine


When Jodi and Doug Berman were exploring college options with their oldest son, Zach, their must-have list included a Hillel. "Our family's Jewish background is a core part of our identity," Doug says. "For Zach, we wanted a college with a Jewish presence and a strong, cohesive Hillel." They found that at Washington University in St. Louis.


In 2017, the Bermans began investing in Hillel through gifts to Washington University for the benefit of Hillel. They have been leading donors of Hillel’s Annual Fund ever since. "I wish more parents knew about Hillel and the benefits and support it provides our sons and daughters. Hillel is exclusively funded by donations so I hope that it becomes a bigger component of our peer group's charitable giving." This strong leadership voice and dedication to Hillel's mission is making a lifetime impact for Jewish students and families.


Reimagining Rosh Hashanah Experiences for a New Generation

By Jacqueline Levey


This year, WashU Hillel debuted a Higher Holidays music festival in the South 40 Swamp—home to 3,000+ undergraduates. Following a picnic dinner, six student a capella groups performed songs inspired by the festival theme, “A Season of Renewal: Embracing Life, Reclaiming Hope.” An Erev Rosh Hashanah service followed, led by renowned Jewish musician, Rick Recht, and student song leaders.


By creating a holistic experience and recognizing that traditional services and meals are not the only ways to connect to the values and learnings of the season, WashU Hillel facilitated 1,200 interactions with 500 individual students during the High Holidays.

Read the full article here.

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L-R - Erev Rosh Hashanah Concert on the South 40 Swamp; Seniors in the Sukkah event; Sukkot hike at Castlewood State Park.

Hillel’s “Evening in the Sukkah”

On September 23, 2021, WashU Hillel hosted “An Evening in the Sukkah” in appreciation of our St. Louis leaders, major donors, and friends. At the event, held in Hillel’s beautiful Sukkah and backyard tent, guests heard from WashU Hillel CEO, Jackie Levey, and student leader, Rebecca Daniel, LA ’22, and were also treated to an intimate Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra quartet performance featuring a selection by Jewish composers. The Amateurs, one of WashU’s premier a capella groups, serenaded attendees as they departed. Event Co-Chairs were Hillel Board members Lisa Ring, WashU BA ’76; MD ’80 & Rick Lerner, WashU BS ’88.


For the event photo gallery, click here.

(Pictures by Sam Cohen, LA ’23)

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L-R: Olin Prof Hillary Anger Elfenbein; former WashU “First Lady” Risa Zwerling; and McKelvey Dean Aaron Bobick. The Amateurs, a WashU a capella group, performing at the event

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Parents! Has your child signed-up for their Hillel Hanukkah Care Package?


“Hanukkah,” “Chanukah,” or “חנוכה,” however you spell it…Hillel is here with another one of our free, specially curated holiday care packages. Ensure your student receives their package filled with tasty treats, a fun surprise, and the supplies they need to celebrate the holiday with friends! Quantity is capped at 250 packages, so be sure they claim their package today via this link.

Hillel Staff News


Tony Westbrook, Jr., WashU Hillel Assistant Director, received a coveted 2021 Pomegranate Prize on October 25, 2021. Awarded by the Covenant Foundation during a virtual ceremony, the five recipients this year join a cohort of 50 others, representing the most promising rising leaders in Jewish education. For more about the Award and Tony, read here.

Rabbi Jordan Gerson, Hillel’s Silk Foundation Campus Rabbi, completed a Certificate Program in Experiential Israel Education from the iCenter on November 4, 2021. Jordan was one of 35 educators from across North America and Israel selected to participate in the 5-week virtual program, during which he learned from some of the biggest names in Israel education today.

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L-R - Tony Westbrook, Jr, and Rabbi Jordan Gerson

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