HOW staff and students at the HHREC dinner
HOW students in Israel!
Israeli Dodgeball - Gaga, at Pace University!
HOW staff and student cadre at the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference
Spring Leadership Training for HOW Students!
Passover Matza Pizza and Cookie Dough Party at Sarah Lawrence!
HOW Happy R U?

Want to be happier with as little as 5 minutes a week? Try out the Happiness Campaign with Hillels of Westchester. Based on 10 character traits, middot, and 10 keys to happiness, each month will have various avenues for you to explore and grow in each trait. Through texts, yoga vinyasas, guided meditations, and other experiences you will learn to reframe life. Each week within the month will grow the theme in order to bring breadth and depth to your experience.


Text @HOWHappy or @HappyMusar to 81010 and check out the facebook page at HOWHappyRU?


Have a great day,

Rabbi Ben

Manhattanville College and HOW respond to recent anti-Semitism

On March 1, 2017, a student at Manhattanville College was arrested for his role in the drawing of multiple swastikas in a dorm on campus.  Read statements from Manhattanville College President Michael Geisler and HOW Executive DIrector Rachel Klein.



Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who generously donated to Hillels of Westchester on #GIVINGTUESDAY!    

Jewish life happens every day on campus.  Show your support today!

Donate NOW!

HOW Staff Thoughts on Election 2016

These compositions are the personal thoughts of HOW staff and do not reflect opinions of the organization, officers or affiliates. 

Rachel Klein, Executive Director

Dvar/Shabbat message, 11/11/2016:

Lech Lecha, l’chi lach…to form a more perfect Union.

God to Abraham:  Go.  Somewhere, to an uncertain future.  It will be a long journey, ripe with achievements and setbacks.  Have faith and it will be worthwhile.  (Genesis, Chapter 12)

America's Founding Fathers to us:  Go.  Somewhere, to an uncertain future.  It will be a long journey, ripe with achievements and setbacks.  Have faith, work together, and it will be worthwhile.  You will never get it 100% right.  The best you can do is strive to be more perfect.  (Preamble to the U.S. Constitution)

Shabbat Shalom,

Rachel Klein


“Who is America?”  Response to the 2016 election

"This is God, and you are my family.  Every one of you."  Words spoken by an Hispanic young man to a crowd of 100 Purchase College students, perhaps more, accompanied in support by faculty and college president Tom Schwartz.  They were gathered, like many campuses across the country this past week, at a central location to share their thoughts. 

At that moment I was struck to my core by two undeniable realities.  

First, the composition of students who wore their identities loudly and proudly, each announcing his/her/their most shaken part of self before seeking solace in expression from the center of the circle.  We were shades of black and white; gay, straight, transgender; Muslim, Christian, Jewish, other, and none of the above; creative types and conscientious observers - representative of the campus and probably not too dissimilar from the U.S. population.  One after another, they shared feeling like they are not represented, and I tend to agree because this crowd is what Congress should look like, yet it doesn't.  Second, they are truly scared.  

The most promising outcome of this election - equally astounding as the actual election - are the words of unity, encouragement, and acts of human kindness.  When you're riding high the world can look wonderful, yet somehow when low and looking ahead, transformative action becomes clearer.  We are flush with need in our community and the world, and positioned to alleviate others' suffering regardless of who is in elected office.

I hope the next four years show a surge in gemelut hasadim, acts of loving kindness, like history has never known.  Let that be how history (herstory, ourstory) recounts this part of our journey to form a more perfect union.  


Rabbi Ben Shefter, Senior Jewish Educator

Dvar/Shabbat message, 11/11/2016:

We are currently in the Torah portions that focus on Abraham and what made him a patriarch. The trait that Jewish literature ascribes to Abraham is the attribute of kindness, chesed, based on his open tent mentality and fighting for the little guy. In the aftermath of a polarizing election, it is critical that we muster up all the Abraham we can and invite everyone in. Jew or non-Jew, Trump or Clinton supporter, LGBTQQIA or straight, we as a nation need to come together and support one another.

Many students are afraid on campus leading to vigils and moments of silence. They are afraid that they will no longer been seen as part of the community, that they are not an American and thus have no rights. This Shabbat as we sit down for a meal, attend synagogue, or relax from a hard week, please think about someone that might feel marginalized and show that you are with them. 


Looking in the Mirror - My response to the 2016 election:

Yesterday when I cast my ballot for president, I had not spent much time thinking about what the process of voting for a leader meant. What does the leader that one votes for really mean?

In the book of Kings, the monarchs are described as either good or bad based on how they influenced the people. The King either made the people better, more loyal to God and the guiding principles of Judaism, or they lead them down a path of idolatry and self indulgence.

As we just passed Halloween, how many children dressed up and impersonated Hillary and Donald? How do the values that they each represent affect society? As a Jew, I have seen the influence of propaganda on children in the Middle East and in Europe during World War II.

However, the reality is that neither Donald or Hillary are all bad. Donald represents the anti-establishment, someone that knows how to tap into people’s emotions to start a movement. He is also a successful businessman, demonstrating how to win in a dog eat dog world. Hillary one the other hand, represents liberal values, women’s rights, and multiculturalism.


However this is not the whole story. A leader that is elected by the people also represents the values of who we are as a people and this is where I struggled to choose. Do I vote for a seasoned politician, who is influenced by big money, lies, and is corrupt or do I vote for a xenophobic and impulsive person who is the big money and also lies and is corrupt? There are times when each type of personality is needed. However, we have to look within ourselves and see what within us is being spoken to. Four years ago, I wished that the political system would enable someone to be outside the system to really speak for the people and lead us towards a better, more empathic future. I got the first part of my wish but not the second part. Instead we have a non-politician that stokes the emotional uncertainty deep within each of us.


But now that it's over and Donald Trump will be the president for the next four years, what do we as a people need to do? We need to first learn how to reconnect with the other. After such a polarizing election season we need to rejoin and find a common vision to make the world a better, more kind, and peaceful place. We might have voted for one candidate because of one value or another, and we should be aware that there are maybe other values we do not support or support in the other. The second thing we need to learn is how to prevent the political system from creating such a toxic environment again. Imagine if there was a way to say “No, we do not want either candidate. Republicans and Democrats go find someone better!” Or create a system where someone that is not a celebrity or has millions of dollars can get their message out and rise to the presidency.


As I process the results of the election I think about the two descriptions of how the redemption will come. One, is through human means. We as a society can lead the world towards a better, more collaborative society. For me, I feel that this is another push from God for humans to do their part. God wants humans to contribute to the structure of the world. The second approach is through a war. I pray that we are able to take the message of the first approach and alleviate the mourning and grieving that so many in the country are feeling today. We are not Blue or Red, we are all Americans and we need to learn to work together.



Shorashim/Roots in Westchester

"Shorashim" is the Hebrew word for Roots.  Such is the foundation of this Israeli-Palestinian grassroots peace organization.

Israeli and Palestinian activists from Roots will be in Westchester on Friday, September 9th and Saturday, September 10th.  

FRIDAY, September 9th at 4:30pm

Location: Purchase College, Student Services Building, Red Room.  The campus is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY.  Event parking is in lots W1/W2 (near the Performing Arts Center).  The Student Services building is located across from the library at the opposite end of the mall from the W1/W2 lots.  For further information email: Rachel Klein at

SATURDAY, September 10th at 12:15pm

Location: Hebrew Institute of White Plains (20 Greenridge Ave, White Plains, NY).  The event is co-sponsored by the Israel Action Committee of the 5 Synagogues of White Plains.  The Shabbat afternoon discussion will take place after morning tefilah​.   All are welcome,  For further information, contact:

Events were made possible through the generous support of Hillel International/Heneinu and UJA Federation of New York.

For more information about the guest speakers, Hanan Schlesinger and Antwan Saca, or Roots, visit:

Israel @ 68 on May 11th!

Israel 'marketplace' showcasing high tech and other innovations, teen cooking program with Susie Fishbein, art showcase with Artists Defending Israel and Artists 4 Israel, Israeli art exhibit by Michal Nachmany, Rikudei am (Israeli Folk Dancing), arts and crafts for kids, homemade Israeli food and much more!


RSVP by May 9 to enter a raffle to win 4 tickets for the Israel Film Festival at the JCC of Mid-Westchester on June 2-9. Register at or (914) 472-3300 ext 0 



The IDF Band in Concert!

Come see the IDF Band in concert on Monday, March 14 at 7:30pm!

JCC of Harrison, 130 Union Ave. Harrisons, NY 10528

Ticket are $18 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and children

For more info, contact Ali Picheny at

Info Session on Project Ten!

Next week on Tuesday, February the 23rd at 7:30pm at JCC Harrison, there will be an Info Session for all those interested in Tikkun Olam/Community Service through Project Ten. 

Project Ten:

Would you like to travel the world, learn new languages and experience new cultures while engaging in meaningful volunteer work? Want to become a Jewish global activist? Join Project TEN and Be The Change!

Project TEN is coming to New York!

Project TEN will be running interactive workshops at Hillels, schools and JCCs in the NY area on the ethics of international development, Tikkun Olam, and Project TEN's volunteering opportunities around the world.

Interested in embarking on a volunteer journey with Project TEN? Come out and hear more about Project TEN from staff members and alumni.

Join HOW for the High Holidays!

 L'Shanah Tovah!

Hillels of Westchester is pleased to offer High Holiday options for any and every student who wishes to celebrate, atone, eat and fast.  First, all are invited to join HOW and the Community Synagogue of Rye at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College on Rosh Hashanah (9/14) and Yom Kippur (9/23).  

RSVPs are required.  Get more info and register here.

Congrats to HOW Graduates!

A huge Mazel Tov to all graduating students! We thank you for your hard work and dedication, and look forward to seeing the amazing things you do in the future!

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