Hillel Board rejects JVP

Jewish Voice for Peace is a recognized, but not chartered group on campus. Last Monday they applied to formally join the umbrella of all Jewish groups on campus – Hillel. The Hillel student board, in consultation with the adults in charge, voted to reject them.

This is gaining some national press:
New Voices


Magnes Zionist blog

You can read their application and rejection letters here.

This might turn into a bigger story, it might not.

I gotta write an essay for class. More info soon? What is your take on the whole deal?

Sign up for Hillel Dinner!

To the lovely Brandeis community,

As part of the wonderful celebrations on Friday Dec. 3 Hillel is welcoming everyone to join Shabbat dinner at 6:30 pm in Upper Sherman. The theme is Harry Potter and sounds like a lot of fun!

In order to ensure there is enough food, PLEASE sign up to reserve your spot using this link. We ask for you to sign up by Thursday Dec. 2 at noon.

Shabbat dinner is traditionally a time to meet with family, friends, and the community. I feel attending dinner is a very appropriate end to a day celebrating students and love.

I hope to see everyone there!

Celebrate, Don’t React!

If our responses are celebratory instead of reactionary, productive instead of abrasive, we can accomplish so much more. Lets love and respect each other instead of hating them.

Hello Innermost Parts!

A little bit about myself: My name is Erica, I am a sophomore majoring in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies with a minor in Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies. I am a coordinator of the Brandeis Interfaith Group and on Hillel Board. I am really new at blogging and am exited to share my perspectives with you!

As I am sure everybody knows by this point, the Westboro Church is coming to Brandeis the morning of Friday, December 3rd , specifically targeting Hillel at Brandeis. As a Hillel member and Jewish Brandeisian who embraces diversity and pluralism, I feel personally hurt and violated. I know that I am not alone.

I also feel angry. There is a part of me who wants nothing more than to confront them, talk to them, do something ridiculous. WBC has the potential to bring out the worst in me, the worst in us.

When I really thought about both what they are out to accomplish, and our University’s values, I realized that direct, reactionary confrontation would not be the best response. WBC wants to prove that college students are irresponsible and immoral. They want us to cause a scene and get violent and react so they can sue us to further fuel their hatred. If we are not careful, we can easily end up being sued for assault and/ or indecent exposure. I am not saying that having fun or reacting is morally wrong- I am just saying that we would be giving them exactly what they want.

To be honest, even though Brandeis is a creative community, I do not think we could develop a response that they have not seen before. We would not be the first to start praying or kissing or drinking and we would not be more effective than anyone who has done this in the past. We are not going to be able to have a pleasant conversation with them, or make them change their minds. In my personal opinion, efforts to do so would be fruitless and counterproductive.

Instead, what if all of Brandeis united to create a response that was both meaningful and could work towards a larger goal?

It will be a much greater accomplishment if Brandeis took advantage of this moment and created a unified response, completely isolated from them, to support Hillel and our community by embracing and living our Brandeis values. We could also use this as a catalyst to fundraise for an organization that represents our concerns and interests.

If our responses are celebratory instead of reactionary, productive instead of abrasive, we can accomplish so much more. Lets love and respect each other instead of hating them.

Hillel, the Student Union and many other Student organizations are currently planning a festival to celebrate our diversity and campus culture of pluralism while showing support to our numerous friends who feel attacked and distressed. We are also going to be having a fundraiser over the course of the day for an organization working towards Brandeis ideals of social justice.

I am please to know that so many students have expressed the same sentiments and are energetic about developing a response for the morning that WBC is on campus. I look forward in working with all of you, sharing more details of our planned celebration, and showing ourselves and the world just how beautiful of a community we can be.

Chapel Clarification

From Hillel:

We regret that The Justice recently misreported the plans with respect to the Berlin Chapel renovation. The Berlin Chapel renovation is not scheduled to begin until after final exams at the end of this semester and will be completed before students return for the beginning of Spring semester. As a result, reports suggesting that students will be using another Chapel are mistaken.

Rabbi Elyse Winick
Jewish Chaplain