Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I Wore: Too Jew for School

I like working at Hillel.  For many, many, many reasons.  One of them is the dress code.  Usually if I'm on campus I wear something depending on the weather.  If I'll be in the office all day, I'll probably wear a shirt with a collar.

Which is a weird thing I never understood, why does a collar make this  formal-er?

Anywho, check this out.  Today I got to wear a kick-ass hoodie from my girlfriend's-cousin's-bat-mitzvah from October 2009.  I'll be on campus making shirts and tabling, it's a little cold, and it's a Jewish hoodie.  Win-Win-Win.

It say's "I had an epic time at Hanna's Bat-Mitzvah!"  And you know what, I did.  Here's a little photo from that memorable evening.

The point of this post is, I like working here, this is one reason why.  This time of year all Hillels start posting job openings.  There is tons and tons of turnover at Hillel's.  Check out what's shaking at www.hillel.org/careers

This post was written by the greatest program director any Hillel has ever had.  You can follow him on twitter at @Jeffdude. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: What is a Wordle?

Wordle is a website that puts together, in a fun way, what's being said about your organization.  You can paste in a whole website or just articles about your organization to see the main ideas and keywords that pop up. Check out ours below or click on the link to make your own!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The dumb thing I did today

So here's the dumb thing I did today while trying to do a good thing.

Sam and I went to give blood today.  Because that's the good thing to do. Here are some pictures of us.

Some things you should know if you donate blood this week.

1. Give yourself plenty of time.  Lots of students are donating for the UK vs. UF blood drive contest.
2. Eat before you go.
3. Tell them when you register that you are with the Hillel Jewish Student Center.
4. If you get the technician named Sam from LifeSouth, ask her to do her T-Rex impression.  If she won't do it, ask her what joke I told her about why the T-rex is always mad.  If you don't do any of those things, ask Jeff why the T-Rex is so mad...hint, it has nothing to do with the fact that he can only fit in the UF Hillel Sukkah (that sukkah line is a reference to http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/article_af891638-f622-11e0-b697-001cc4c03286.html
5. Don't give yourself 30 minutes between donating blood and going to a JGAP Beer Tasting event.

Why emphasize #5?  Glad you ask.

Tonight we had our first JGAP (Jewish Grads and Professionals) event of the Spring Semester.  And it was awesome!  We had around 30 participants hanging out at Swamphead Brewery, which is the local brew of Gainesville. 

If you get a chance go there sometime. If you like beer, go there all the time.  If you just donated blood, wait sometime.  

That's the dumb thing I did. 

Well at any rate, here's how you know if you qualify for for JGAP:
- grad or professional student
- young professional (I said young, Josh Kahn)
- in the 5th year of a program like engineering or accounting (sorry, you can't come to JGAP if your taking a victory lap or you're a super senior)
- you are a graduating senior who has already been accepted into a graduate program 

And to learn about our events and what's shaking with JGAP join our facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2210548226/

Interested in joining or supporting a JGAP event,  contact Jeff@ufhillel.org.  To donate blood with Jeff (which is a lot more fun that it sounds, I make friends with the whole bus) come with him in 8 weeks, as early as March 21 to save some lives!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who wants to go on a date with me?

Did you know Hillel does this thing called Coffee Dates? Seriously, it's like a Hillel International thing.  Anyone who has worked for a Jewish non-profit knows the term.  It's a way to connect with people through retail engagement.  The philosophy is pretty simple.  We, the Hillel people, genuinely want to get to know the story of every Jewish student who comes to our campus.  We do this one-on-one taking the time and care for each student that each one of them deserves.  I told a student today, "Your choice, my treat". We can meet at the local coffee shop or the big chain, we also do Fro-Yo places.

Grab a hold of one of us, me (jeff@ufhillel.org), Jess (Jessica@ufhillel.org), or Josh (josh@ufhillel.org) and we would love to take you/your child/your friend/ whoever out for a cup of coffee on us!

Jeff on a coffee date with Bridget.  THAT COULD BE YOU!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jeff's Secrets Part I or I missed you too, blogosphere

Hi everyone, it's Jeff here.  I know, I know, I know.  I haven't written a blog post since this summer.  And you're all probably a little upset with me.  I get it.  I am sorry.  I know how much you all missed my quips, witty remarks, occasional f-bombs, etc...  Well now I'm back.  You must be relieved.

Well I've been on campus a ton lately.  Follow me on twitter @jeffdude, @ufhillel and on facebook.com/ufhillel because we have been doing tons of social media contests.  Things range from "come say hi to jeff and you'll get a t-shirt" to "First person to do a cartwheel in front of our table gets a Kiddush Cup".

I have been so lucky to table with some amazing, enthusiastic, and fun students!  And we have had a really fantastic turn out on campus.  And to be honest I want to leave a legacy of quality campus out reach at Hillel. So I am going to do something I have been debating for months now.  I am going to share with you all my secrets to perfect success at tabling.  I mean look at this, it just screams success.

This was taken at the Religious Opportunities Fair last week.  That's me on the right.  It was a really good day of tabling.  Lot's of cards were taken, lots of information was gathered, and lots of T-Shirts and Kiddush Cups went into the hands of some lucky Jewish Students.  

If you have ever walked on the UF Campus, either through the Colonnade at the student union, or in Turlington Plaza, you have likely been flyered, pamphletted, tabled, and called a harlot who will burn in hell for not accepting Jesus into your heart (more on that last one in a different blog post).  Anyway you probably ignore the person who hands you the flyer or immediately throw it out after taking it.  I discovered many years ago when I was a Gator Growl AD that I had a gift.  I could get people to take my flyers, laugh, and even thank me for giving them the flyer.  

There's are sacred trade secrets.  It has taken me years to perfect my methods. Don't blow it.  

Here's how:

1. Don't say what you are flyering for.

Seriously, I don't walk around and shout, "Jewish Life on Campus!"  "Hillel, your Jewish home away from home!"  If I did that no one would stop.  Instead I shout in a high-pitched-silly-slightly-obnoxious-old-man-from-brooklyn-who-only-eats-kippered-salmon-and-gefilte-fish-voice, "Who likes matzah balls?"  When I see someone smile I hand them a flyer and say to them in my normal-smooth-urbane-voice, "Come by Hillel Friday, we got tons of Matza Balls."  This works incredibly well.  Some folks who table with me might get red-faced by these tactics, but they resonate and deliver.  

2. Smile.  

That's just common sense.  Do it a lot.  Even when your aren't tabling.  Boom, nice little life lesson for you.  Nobody will be coming to talk to you to see what you are pushing or take your flyers if you have a farbissina punim.  

3. Get away from your table.

You permitted for a table, mazal tov you've passed cheder.  But that's just the place to put your gear, swag, and sign-up sheets. You sitting behind the table will reach the 0-3% of people who are seeking your table out.  97-100% of people out there don't really care that you are sitting behind a table.  Be in front, be visible, and connect.  Once you do, you can bring them to the table to give them an "I <3 Israel" pin or birthright sign-up playbook or Hillel t-shirt or get their contact info or whatever else you have going on.

4. When it's cold bring cocoa, when it's hot have ice-pops.

This is like the holy grail of tabling.  It's probably my biggest give-away.  The other things take a shtickle of chutzpah but any one can do this one, and everyone should do this one (except you, and you know who I mean). When it's Summer B and the plaza is over 100 degrees my cooler full of ice-pops just makes the kids go crazy.  I even had a bicycle cop stop me, ask for an ice pop, and then come back an hour later for another one.  But wait, what's that laminated 4x6 piece of paper wrapped around every ice-pop handed out?  It's a Hillel flyer, you're welcome.  Same thing in Winter (if it ever comes to Florida this year) except that it's hot cocoa.  Give folks a nice small cup of cocoa, with a flyer around the cup.

5. Make friends with your neighbors, unless it's a crazy preacher, then change neighborhoods.

How many Jews are on this campus?  A shit load!  About 8,000 of 50,000 students are Jewish.  That includes undergrad and grad.  Lets do a little math, that means 8 out of 50 students are Jewish, 4 out of 25, 2 out of 12.5, and finally 1 out of 6.25 students overall are Jewish.  Let that marinate for a second.
That means out of the 5 people at the cultural table next to you and and 7 kids at the pre-professional table on the other side you might have a few jews.  Only might, don't get too excited.  However, out of all those kids, they will 100% have jewish friends.  Make friends with your neighbors and they will be taking your flyers for their friends. Sometimes this next thing happens, and when it does, it is awesome. If you're lucky they will see their jewish friends, those jew friends will come over to say hi and (only if you did a good schmooze job) you'll be introduced as the new friend who the old friend should meet.  A referred connection has an automatic trust that a cold connection takes time to build.

OK Grasshopper, believe in yourself.  You can do this.  Si se puede!  Start with these, and in a little while I post more tips and tricks like "The Flyer Fling", "Shofars Sure Do Work", and the extremely advanced, "Candy from a stranger".

I'll be on campus tomorrow tabling with BCI, hope they're ready for it!

***WARNING*** Do not abuse these! I put these here out of chesed!  There is one group in town that has copied some of our social media techniques (you know who you are...).  Don't simply copy us make it your own! I look forward to seeing you out there, happy tabling.

Jeffrey Kaplan is an Engagement and Programming Professional through the international outreach organization Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Life on Campus.  so he knows his shit.  Follow him on the Twitter @Jeffdude or email him jeff@ufhillel.org. 

Join UF Hillel for a Weekend with Scott Fried!

You heard right members of the Gator Nation!

Scott Fried, the international public speaker and HIV/AIDS educator, will be coming to Gainesville to help kick off some amazing events this weekend.

On Thurs. Jan 26 Scott Fried's will give his lecture called "The Closet Monologues" at 8 p.m. at Hillel. 

  • Through this lecture, Scott will address the challenges and responsibilities facing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth. He will discuss how societal shame can transform into internalized self-hatred and will also touch on the important question of what it really means to be "in the closet" or "out."
  • To accompany these inspiring words, LGBT Affairs will hold a dessert reception there as well.

Hillel's Shabbat celebration on Fri. Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. will have a Scott Fried twist!

  • Come join us for Shabbat with Scott Fried and a free Kosher dinner after!

On Sat. Jan. 28 Hillel will host some educational and exciting opportunities.

  • At 2 p.m . join us for a "safe-sex workshop."
  • At 6:30 p.m. you can find out how to join Scott Fried on his upcoming service trip to Roatan Honduras to help people currently HIV/AIDS. 

Then on Sun. Jan. 29 at 1 p.m. come to UF Hillel Scott will share his story about how he started the AIDS support group which the musical RENT is based on.

We hope to see you all there! Go Gators!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome Back! It's time to shine!

Happy New Year!  It's 2012....can you believe it??  UF Hillel is so excited to be back and we hope you are too!

There are some new happenings here at UF Hillel:

Congratulations to Andrea and Jeremy Dictor on their wedding!
Congratulations to Blair Morse and Eric DeLaet on their engagement!

Also, it was Jeff (@jeffdude)'s birthday a few days back so wish him a Happy Birthday!
And, finally a new look to our blog!  We hope that this will make it easier to read and navigate!

We aren't wasting anytime..Welcome Week is underway and there are a lot of exciting events waiting for you.

Tuesday, January 10 
Bonfire/Jam Session/Drum Circle/Hot Cocoa!
8:00p.m., UF Hillel
We are gonna hang out by the fie pit in the side yard of Hillel to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. We'll have a toasty fire to warm you and hot cocoa to drink.  Please bring instruments to play along, song sheets will be provided.

Wednesday, January 11
11:00a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Plaza of the Americas
Design your own T-Shirt with several slogans and stencils to choose from. We will be on the Plaza of the Americas, so be sure to find us to create your own unique T-Shirt.

Krav Maga
6:00p.m., UF Hillel
Krab Maga (Israeli Martial Arts) has moved to Mondays and Wednesdays this semester at 6:))p.m. both days.  Our Krav Maga classes are taught by a trained professional who will teach you the skills of self-defense while you get a great workout!

Jewish Film Screening
8:30p.m., UF Hillel
We will be screening "A Jewish Girl in Shanghai" for the Jewish Film Festival in March.  "A Jewish Girl in Shanghai" is an acclaimed animated film that you don't want to miss.

Thursday, January 12

Challah for Hunger
11:00 a.m. & 6:00 p.m., UF Hillel
Come prep the challah dough at 11:00 a.m. and then bread & bake at 6:00 p.m.! Challah is sold on Plaza of the Americas on Friday beginning at 11:30.

Nosh and Schmooze
9:00 p.m., Leonardo's Pizza
Come out to Leonardo's Pizza to grab a slice or two and have a drink with your friends, and find out about Hillel's plans for the semester.

Friday, January 13 

7:30p.m., UF Hillel
Join Hillel for Shabbat this week! Services (Reform, Conservative, and Traditional) will begin at 7:30, followed by a FREE Kosher and delicious meal at 8:30!

For many of you this may be your first semester, some your last and then plenty in between.  We want to wish you all an amazing new year and can't wait for everything in store.  Don't be afraid to stop by anytime and "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Happy New Year!

Your UF Hillel Staff

Follow @jeffdude (Program Director)
Follow @jdavis (Student Life Coordinator)
Follow @Israelisoldier (Israel Fellow)