Proactively Confronting Antisemitism on Campus
Hillel for Utah selected for Campus Climate Initiative

Jewish students face an increasingly challenging environment on college and university campuses today with antisemitic incidents tripling over the past seven years. Hillel International is launching the Campus Climate Initiative (CCI) to partner with select campus administrations to ensure a positive environment in which Jewish and pro-Israel students – and all students – can express their identities and values, free of harassment, hostility, or marginalization.

Hillel for Utah, working with the University of Utah, has been accepted into the first CCI cohort of about a dozen colleges and universities (including George Washington, San Francisco State, Syracuse, and others) with the goal of these campuses becoming exemplars in the field.

“Our work together will support University of Utah’s Jewish students while fostering an inclusive campus environment in which all students can engage meaningfully with diverse peers and viewpoints,” explained Rebecca Russo, CCI executive director with Hillel International.

The CCI work includes training for administrators and staff, administering a survey to understand present climate/attitudes on campus relating to Jewish students, and counsel on strengthening institutional programs and policies that support Jewish students and fostering dialogue and relationship-building across religious and cultural differences.

“My hope is that what we accomplish for students at the University of Utah, the flagship university for the state, becomes a model for working with other colleges in Utah--in particular, those on the Wasatch Front,” said Dana Tumpowsky, executive director.
Lessons from a Pandemic

“As we think about emerging from this moment, I don’t see online services or events going anywhere anytime soon,” said Rabbi Benjamin Berger, Vice President for Jewish Education, Hillel International. “Providing meaningful content and connection in a world where so many are feeling dislocated, isolated, and disconnected is our number one challenge."

The imperative to create content that sparks human connection and fosters community will remain more relevant than ever.
Rabbi Ben Berger

"More Jewish education, please!" they said. So we revived Torah & Tacos featuring a gift card to Chipotle and a lively Torah discussion led by local rabbis. Bagel Tuesdays offers bagels and schmear for pickup outside of the JCC one Tuesday a month with Everything But the Bagel schmooze sessions. The 24-hour Sukkot Rock-a-thon fundraiser (raising $1700 for the Feed U Pantry) featured Jewish learning sessions as well as the mitzvah of voting, crafts, games, a dance party, bagel-making, and more led by student leaders, staff, and Hillel International staff and rabbis. Regular Shabbats planned by students drew Hillel students, parents, friends, and often Hillel International friends. An East-West Shabbat brought students from Franklin & Marshall Hillel (PA) and Hillel for Utah. We planned Wellness Monday led by counseling staff at the University of Utah in November with wellness bags the next day for pickup full of fidget toys, calming tea, Israeli chocolate, and packs of matzah ball soup. We lit candles together via Zoom each night of Hanukkah led by different student leaders followed by trivia games, online dreidel, musical playlists, Hanukkah Jeopardy and Jackbox. Hillel for Utah’s first-ever alumni Hanukkah Happy Hour drew former students from New York, Texas, locally and more—all in the virtual space.

Nearly two-thirds of US colleges remain primarily or fully online. The effect on college students is profound. Research indicates record levels of depression and anxiety and almost half of students reporting struggles with motivation to do well once courses moved online

“Prolonged closures are not something for which any of us were prepared,” said Dana Tumpowsky."We must continue to adapt creatively to continue to serve and inspire our students."
What are the qualities of a good leader? The 2021 student board compiled an impressive list of aspirant goals at a recent retreat and each signed off on the list pledging to strive towards these goals above.

Kol Hakavod and Mazel Tov!
As 2021 begins, we say a hearty KOL HAKAVOD to outgoing 2020 student leaders, who worked tirelessly in the space of only a semester, and a virtual one, at that. “This winter, we moved our term of student leadership service to a calendar year rather than to an academic year,” said Elana Fauth, Springboard Ezra Fellow. She explained that change was made to give graduating student leaders a break during their last semester and to give incoming board members the opportunity to work in their positions prior to all of the fall holidays happening shortly after the beginning of the semester.

Mazel tov to these students who are leading Hillel for Utah in 2021:

Jacob Olson, President
Kayla Dworsky, Vice President
Alexys Berman, Tikkun Olam Chair
Ella Abramson, Abram Berry, Abby Rubin; Engagement Team
Michael Palmer, Finance and Development Chair
Zach Wahler, Israel Chair
If not now, when?
There’s never been a more important time to support Jewish life on Utah’s campuses. Hillel for Utah continues to provide Jewish education, holiday programming, wellness support, and community connections. Make your donation now at
Hillel for Utah alumni doing things worth kvelling about!

Amanda Berg has begun the Physician Assistant Program at the Tufts School of Medicine.

Alyssa Dolgin married
Taylor Green on October 10, 2020
at Harvey's Lake in Vermont.
Alyssa also started a new job as controller for Brighton Recovery Center in Utah.

Maiya Haberman ('18) just graduated with a Master of Education from Boston College.

Amanda Darrow is the Director of Youth, Family, and Education with the
Utah Pride Center.

Rachel Savage just started the Sports Conditioning and Performance program at Southern Utah University. She says she's finally pursuing something educationally that she is really passionate about. "I’m so stoked they accepted me based on my fitness experience and certification, dream come true!"

Joshua Zweighaft continues his studies with the Villanova University
School of Business.
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
Jacob Olson, Hillel for Utah President, 2021