FAQs

What is Hillels of Westchester (HOW)?
 Hillels of Westchester (www.hillelsofwestchester.org) is a 16-year old non-profit organization led by a core group of dedicated Westchester Jewish community leaders and professional staff, whose mission is to enhance the lives of Jewish college students in Westchester so that they will make an enduring commitment to Jewish life. We are a local  multi-campus division affiliated with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life (www.hillel.org).

Our Hillel serves a Jewish population of 1,300 undergraduate and 100 graduate students on four liberal arts campuses: Manhattanville College, Pace University-Pleasantville, Purchase College SUNY, and Sarah Lawrence College. All Jewish college students as well as the Jewish community in Westchester are welcome to participate in our ongoing programming and outreach in Westchester County.

Hillels of Westchester’s mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. Hillel student leaders, professionals and lay leaders are dedicated to creating a pluralistic, welcome and inclusive environment for Jewish college students where they are encouraged to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially.

Hillels of Westchester helps students find a balance in being distinctively Jewish and universally human by encouraging them to pursue tzedek (social justice), tikkun olam (repair of the world) and Jewish learning, and to support Israel and global Jewish peoplehood. Hillels of Westchester is committed to excellence, innovation, accountability and results.

How many professional staff does HOW employ?
Rachel Klein, Executive Director
Ethan Behling, Program Director
Julie Wichler, Programming and Engagement Associate
Linda Eisenkraft, Administrator

What is the total student population of the different campuses that HOW
serves and the approximate percentage of Jewish students on each of these campuses?

  • 1,800 students at Sarah Lawrence College (30% Jewish)
  • 4,200 Purchase College, SUNY (10% Jewish)
  • 2,700 students Manhattanville College (10% Jewish)
  • 2,500 students Pace University, Pleasantville Campus (5% Jewish)

How is Hillels of Westchester supported?

 Hillels of Westchester is supported by a Board of Directors which includes prominent members of the Westchester Jewish community. Additionally, Hillels of Westchester receives an allocation and grants from UJA Federation of NY, various student government funding, parents, alumni and contributions from the local Jewish community.

What outreach does Hillels of Westchester do in the community?

  • HOW cosponsors the Jewish College Fair held at Solomon Schechter Westchester
  • HOW cosponsors the Annual Jewish Studies Film Festival with the Jewish Studies Program at Purchase College SUNY
  • HOW organizes performances at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College SUNY
  • HOW hosts community receptions with prominent community leadership
  • HOW invites the community to exclusive performance opportunities such as DAI and Tovah Feldshuh events (Irena’s Vow)
  • HOW volunteers participate in UJA Federation’s Annual Super Sunday
  • HOW volunteers at Kids Kloset in White Plains, NY
  • HOW volunteers participate in Midnight Run (www.midnightrun.org) several times a year
  • HOW volunteers collect and donate food for the hungry

What are the programs that Hillels of Westchester students organize and run?
 Hillels of Westchester’s programming is varied and targets Jewish students with different backgrounds and levels. Hillel of Westchester focuses on 4 main areas:

RITUAL:

  • Shabbat Sevices, programs, and dinners
  • Rabbinic Support
  • Programming for all religious holidays
  • Passover Seders
  • Meals in our own sukkot

LEARNING:

  • Over 200 hours of Jewish learning are offered continuously through:
  • Lunch and Learns and Bagel Brunches
  • Rabbis, speakers, and Israel advocates
  • Programs with Community Leaders

TZEDEK:

  • Challah for Hunger- students bake challot and donate proceeds t charities
  • Kids Kloset- students volunteer during the year organizing care packages of clothing for needs children locally
  • Midnight Run- students make sandwiches, collect clothes and blankets; transport food and goods to NYC to deliver to persons in need
  • Dorot- visits to homebound adults
  • Nursing home and hospital visits, and more

COMMUNITY BUILDING:

  • Outreach and Enegagement- (formal) Israel Programs, Birthright Israel trips, welcome BBQs; (informal) coffee/lunch dates, campus "tabling"
  • Leadership Development- internship opportunities, conferences, APIAC campus delegation, Israel Coalition on Campus, Stand With Us, The David Project, the New Israel Fund, etc.
  • Shaliach (a contracted professional whose primary function is to educate and engage a community around Israel) for Westchester. Additionally, HOW's Israel Interns on our campuses strengthen students' relationships with israel. Programs include: films, discussions, and Israeli cooking
  • In addition, Hillels of Westchester participates in Taglit: Birthright Israel trips. Over 400 HOW students have gone to Israel for free in the last 5 years due to this program.

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