Hillel seeks to enrich the lives of students wherever they are on their journeys, so they will go on to enrich the Jewish people and the world.
Jason Goldstein – “All of us have that Jewish Grandmother that tells you what to do. “Marry a nice Jewish girl, become a doctor…” Mine told me to go to Hillel and go on Birthright. Little did I know that of all the lectures I received in my life, this one would make such an impact. I went to Hillel the first time because I figured if they were sending me to Israel for free I might as well attend an event or two. For the rest of my college career I never left. I met some of my best friends; I got involved in the Jewish Film Festival; and, eventually, started my job at the Jewish Community Center on a suggestion from Hillel staff. Before Hillel,Judaism was something I didn’t really care about. Now I work at a JCC, have been to Israel four times, and am encouraging teens and young adults to explore their Judaism in new ways. To say Hillel made a difference in my life is an understatement.”
Michelle Laredo – “Growing up in Los Angeles in an area where Judaism is everywhere, I didn’t think I would take part in Jewish activities in college. Shortly after moving to attend San Jose State University, I realized something was
missing for me. One day I saw a banner over a table with a Magen David, and the name Hillel of Silicon Valley on it. It didn’t take long to attend my first Shabbat dinner. It wasn’t hard to make friends and I felt right at home. I became involved in the Jewish Student Union. “During my time in school I also experienced my first anti-Israel sentiment. Fortunately, Hillel was there to console me. I felt like more needed to be done to counteract anti-Israel sentiment. With Hillel’s help, I was able to create a pro-Israel club on campus, Spartans for Israel,to be proactive instead reactive. Hillel introduced me to other organizations, such as American Israel Public Affairs Committee—
AIPAC—to help build leadership skills that I needed to be successful on campus.“Hillel became my home away from home. It became more than just a place to get free food. It was a place where I made lasting friends, a family when I couldn’t be with mine. I even met my husband there! When it became time to graduate, I knew that I wanted to continue working in the Jewish community and do something with my passion for Israel advocacy. Shortly after graduating, I got a job at Temple Emanu-El in San Jose. After living in San Jose for six years, my husband and I felt that it was time to move to Los Angeles to be closer to my family and now I work at AIPAC.”
Asya Sorokurs: – “My first experience with Hillel of Silicon Valley was a leadership seminar which I enjoyed so much that I became president of JIFF (Jews, Israelis, and Friends) at Foothill College. It was an eyeopening experience since I never saw myself as a leader before. With support from Hillel, I was able to exceed my expectations about what JIFF could do at Foothill. With a committed group of students and staff we launched the first Jewish Heritage Month,which is still going strong on campus today. Upon transferring to UC Berkeley, I was able to land a fantastic job, thanks to a recommendation from Sue Maltiel and my own experience with organizing and leading at Foothill. I am still using those skills and life lessons learned through Hillel in my position as media and communications manager at Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto. “Hillel has also had the greatest impact on my personal life. Through
Hillel, I met my fiancé Amir who came to Foothill as an international student. We are both so grateful that we had the opportunity to meet through Hillel. My involvement with Hillel has given me confidence in my abilities to reach for my dreams and has gifted me with my partner for life. I would encourage all Jewish students to make Hillel of Silicon Valley part of their lives.”