Monday, February 4, 2013

Partisans Exhibit Opening Gala

As college students we are all trying to find time fitting in school, sports and social lives into our already hectic schedules. I am personally guilty of this, but I think that sometimes we lose sight of taking a break from our every day schedules to spend time doing something meaningful. I know most people spend their Wednesday nights playing intermural sports or at ladies night in Midtown, but I think as Jewish students we should all take one night to dedicate to attending meaningful event.
On Wednesday, Feb. 6, the opening gala for the Partisans exhibit will take place at Hillel. It will include kosher wine, cheese and fruit. There will also be a lecture from Professor Goda followed by a DVD about the exhibit.
Faye Schulman’s photographs will be on display in the exhibit. Faye is the only known Jewish partisan photographer. The Nazi’s spared Faye’s life because of her valuable photography skills. She eventually escaped from the Germans and captured the horror and loss, bravery and triumph of the partisans through the artistry of her photography. The Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation is an organization dedicated to empowering Jewish youth through the history and lessons of the Jewish partisans.
It is important that we are reminded of the past and keep this in our minds and in our hearts. The opening gala will showcase the historical photographs and educate students about the life lessons of Jewish partisans. As Jewish students we should continue to educate ourselves about our history and keep these memories alive. I hope to see every one come by Hillel on Wednesday to view the gala. If you have any questions please contact
Look out for another blog post about details and interviews from the event! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

YGRS - Youth Group Reunion Shabbat!

Some of my fondest memories of Shabbat come from my years in the Conservative Jewish Youth Group - United Synagogue Youth. It started when I went on the USY on Wheels summer program in 2006. It was essentially a six and a half week bus tour around the country with 46 other Jewish teenagers and 5 college-aged staff members. We stopped in dozens of cities along the way, staying at hotels or with local synagogue members as we took in the sights. Usually these sites included museum tours, free time to explore the city, and prayer - lots of praying. Even on some of the longer bus rides, we broke into groups to practice leading prayers and learning new ones. We created friendships and bonds that are still going strong while learning what it means to be Jews in America today. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most incredible summers in my life.

After that experience, I was hooked. I spent the next summer with USY again, but this time in Israel taking in the breadth of the country with 26 of my new best friends plus our 4 phenomenal staff members. During the school year I was also highly involved in my chapter (KAUSY...Moo), Sub-Region (Olive Mercaz and always will), Region (H-A-Negev, H-A-negev, go HaNegev!), and International USY events. I served on the HaNegev Regional Executive board as the Israel Affairs Vice President my senior year of high school and have the fondest memories of all the conventions I attended. It is hard to explain what USY means to me in just this short blog post, but it truly has a special place in my heart. It had the greatest impact in shaping me into a better Jew and person while I was in high school. I am forever grateful for my experience in USY and am sure that others can say the same for their similar youth group experiences. If you would like to share your story to potentially be highlighted in next week’s blog post, please feel free to email me at

The Shabbat and Holidays team along with the Jewish Learning team under Missy Goldstein, are hosting a Youth Group Reunion Shabbat (or YGRS to abbrev) on October 19th to bring together students who are alumni of USY, BBYO, NFTY, and NCSY youth groups. UF Hillel is hoping to personally invite Jewish youth group alumni at UF and other Florida universities that are looking to participate. Please consider joining us to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. For those of you who did not have this experience, we also encourage you to see this youth group reunion in action and meet new friends as well. For more information or to invite others, please visit the Facebook event here:

As a reminder, Traditional, Conservative and Reform services will begin at 7:30pm tonight followed by a delicious and FREE (thanks to our generous donors) kosher Shabbat dinner
at 8:45pm. We hope that you will join us!

Shabbat Shalom and Beat Vandy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tzedek Tuesdays!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be spotlighting several of the awesome local organizations we will be working with on Mitzvah Day (November 18th!). So this week I'm going to write about Gainesville's Hope Lodge. 

The Hope Lodge is a home away from home for patients undergoing cancer treatment. It is a service provided by the American Cancer Society and strives to provide comfort during hard times for adults, children, and their caregivers- a similar idea to the Ronald McDonald House which we will also be volunteering with. The building was opened in 1986 and was recently renovated in 2008. With generous donations from the community, Hope Lodge is able to provide a fully equipped kitchen, linens, and towels.

They love having volunteers and are very much looking forward to having us come by!

To learn more visit their website here.

For more info on Mitzvah Day and how you can help, please email me at!

Pammie :]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Israel: Join us for Hookah & more

As many of the Jewish holidays are coming to a close, it is important to
realize that the events at Hillel are not. There is a Simchat Torah Celebration tonight
at Hillel at 7:30 p.m. Make sure you check it out and come celebrate and learn about

It is an exciting time for Israel events at Hillel, especially with a new Israel
group forming on campus. Zionist Gators started last spring and just held its first
officer elections this past week. Make sure to like their Facebook page to get
updates on exciting events that they will be hosting.

Also, next Wednesday at 8:30, Israel & Social Manoa will be hosting a Hookah social event on Hillel's patio. Come enjoy Israeli culture with your friends!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Good Yontif (good day or holiday) Y'all!

Chag Sameach (or Happy Holiday) to everyone! Thank you to Dannie and Jeff for your great insights on the holiday of Sukkot and the Sukkah. While it follows the solemn holiday of Yom Kippur, Sukkot is a celebratory holiday. Sukkot originated as a harvest festival, with the crop’s first fruits brought to the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to G-d.

So what is the deal with this Sukkah thing outside of Hillel? Sukkah is often translated as booth and is the hut that is constructed on the holiday of Sukkot to symbolize the shelters used by Jews in the wilderness after being freed from Egypt. The Book of Leviticus (23:42–43) portrays God as commanding: “You shall dwell in booths for seven days…that your generations may know that I made the Children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” According to halakha, a sukkah is a structure consisting of a roof made of organic material which has been disconnected from the ground (the S'chach). A sukkah must have 3 walls. It should be at least three feet tall, and be positioned so that all or part of its roof is open to the sky. Fun Fact: only the part which is under the sky is kosher. (taken from Wikipedia - Sukkot)

If you are interested in having a meal in the sukkah, please join us tonight for Shabbat. Traditional, Conservative, and Reform services will begin at 7:30pm followed by a delicious and FREE (thanks to our generous donors) kosher Shabbat dinner at 8:45pm in the Sukkah! There will also be be seating inside as well. We hope that you will join us for an oneg after dinner sponsored by Torah Advancement Project. You can see more details about their event here:

And don’t forget to join us on Monday, October 8 at 7:30 pm for a Simchat Torah celebration as well. Following a brief, ruach (spirit)-filled service there will be dancing and singing with the Torah as we mark the end of one reading cycle before beginning another. Rabbi Gail will be leading a NY-style Simchat Torah you don't want to miss! And if you're lucky, you might even get the chance to carry the Torah!

For information about all of these programs and more, please visit UFHillel on facebook or you may email me at

Shabbat Shalom, Good Yontiv, and Go Gators!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Welcome Sukkot!

Following a crazy couple of weeks filled with High Holiday festivities, Sukkot is here already!  Where does the time go?  My family did not really observed Sukkot while I was growing up so I never had a true understanding of what it was.  I just knew that it existed and that a giant fort structure was built and meals and festivities took place inside of it.  This Sukkot (only one day in) I am proud to say that I have been more active in the celebrations than ever before.  Hadar, Melanie and I decorated the Sukkah today.  The theme we chose is around the world, so flags were printed out and we taped them to the sukkah pillars.  We also hung up traditions that Jewish people in other countries do during Sukkot.  Melanie was full of information and taught Hadar and I some new things.  Everyone who walks into the Sukkot will love the decorations and enjoy reading about traditions around the world. 
Following decorating, Sara put on a great event.  It was dinner in the Sukkot to celebrate the first night.  Sara led the ‘Seder’ and stopped to talk about different traditions.  I am grateful for her teaching me new things that I did not know about Sukkot.  We then noshed on Leonardo’s for dinner and enjoyed Publix cookies for desert.  Delicious! I am looking forward to continuing to celebrate Sukkot with Sushi in the Sukkah on Wednesday at 6, and then at 8, I can’t wait to see the desert sushi that people put together.   

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shabbat Shalom My Holy Friends!

I hope everyone who observed the fast on Yom Kippur had a safe fast and if not, at least had some time for self-reflection. Now just because the Jewish High Holidays may be over, doesn’t mean that we can forget the commitments and resolutions we promised to uphold. While I love that we have ten days to make resolutions, apologize to those we have hurt, and ask G-d for forgiveness, it is certainly not limited to just the High Holiday season. I hope that you consider this message and make thanksgiving and reflection part of your daily routine.

If you are looking to do some service to the community please consider attending the Tzedek team’s program, Crafting with children from Noah’ Endeavor this Sunday at 1:40pm. Please check out the facebook event here:

We are also looking for those with lots of creative energy to help us decorate the Sukkah (that awesome structure outside of Hillel at the moment) on Sunday at 5:30 pm. The theme created by the Manoa Arts team is Around the World, so bring yourself and your best ideas!

Then at 7:00 pm, the Shabbat and Holidays team will be putting on a “traditional” Holiday meal (from Leonardo’s Pizza) in the Sukkah to discuss the the importance and traditions of Sukkot. This event is open to all students who wish to experience the glory of Sukkot in the Sukkah and have a delicious meal!

For those who are interested, please check the calendar at for more information about these programs and more offered by UF Hillel.

As a reminder, Traditional, Conservative and Reform services will begin at 7:30pm tonight followed by a delicious and FREE (thanks to our generous donors) kosher Shabbat dinner
at 8:45pm. We hope that you will join us!

Shabbat Shalom and Go Gators!