Category Archives: Uncategorized

David Hirsh at SJSU

Student Spotlight: Meet Isaac

isaacDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

As both the son of a Jewish mother and a founding member of the Santa Clara University Colony of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, an organization that boasts Jewish heritage, Hillel has provided me with an avenue through which to stay connected to my own heritage while forging new connections throughout the Jewish community. Hillel of Silicon Valley has contributed greatly to my ability to perform my duties as the fraternity’s heritage chair. Working with and getting to know the people at Hillel has been extremely rewarding, both personally and with regards to the strength of our fraternity. For me, Hillel means family. From the moment I first set foot in the Hillel house, to every encounter thereafter, I have always felt comfortable and welcome. Whether I’m there cooking and/or eating Shabbat dinner or for some other reason, the environment, and the people are always inviting. Back home in Tucson, Arizona, I stay in touch with my Jewish heritage by interacting with my mother and grandparents. In my time at Santa Clara, Hillel has acted as surrogate for those people in my life at home. Just yesterday, Shelby from Hillel met me on campus to deliver a Purim gift bag containing Hamantaschen (one of my favorites). Acts of kindness and caring like this truly embody what Hillel has meant to me in the short time that I’ve been so privileged to be a part of it. As far as the fraternity is concerned, Hillel has allowed brothers who knew nothing of ZBT’s Jewish heritage before to gain insight into what exactly that heritage means. Though a majority of the brothers are not Jewish, every brother attests to just how valuable learning about the heritage of the fraternity has been. Hillel has been extremely helpful in giving brothers this knowledge through fun and engaging events. Every brother raves about how much fun Shabbat is and how welcoming and friendly the people who attend are. Even beyond Shabbat dinners, Shelby has worked with me to set up events that are both fun and educational, which are designed to teach brothers about the traditions surrounding Jewish holidays. All the brothers of ZBT greatly appreciate Hillel’s willingness to engage with us and the support provided to us during our journey as a young colony.

Isaac, SCU

Student Spotlight: Meet Yoni

yoniDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

At San Jose State, there is one a place that brings our Jewish community together. Each Friday night people all across campus, no matter who they are, gather under one roof to end each week with a delicious meal. Conversations ranging from Politics to Pokémon teams and all the classroom gossip in between can be heard at the table. What Hillel means to me is Diversity and Inclusion. With its doors always open, I know I can find a warm meal and good company. The Hillel of Silicon Valley provides a representation that is unique to the Jewish people, that even though we are all different we have one quality that brings us all together. It’s the fact that we are all young proud Jewish students, and we all embrace it. Without Hillel there would be no place where any and all Jews at the San Jose State campus could go to and would be accepted regardless of who they are. That is what Hillel means to me, it’s a place where I can find other Jews and without judgement.

Yoni, SJSU

Student Spotlight: Meet Anya

anyaDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

Hillel of Silicon Valley means everything to me. I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I belong. I had always wanted to be part of the Jewish community, but finding time had been difficult. When I had found the time when I started going to San Jose State, I wanted to meet the community and see if this was where I was meant to fit in. The first event I attended was a Shabbat Dinner. At the time, I was nervous because I felt like the new kid and the odd one out. Previously, I had been part of Sonoma Hillel and I had always felt like the new kid there despite being an active member for a year. Yet, when I came to the Hillel SV house, everyone here took me in without any questions. Originally, I had meant to keep to myself and sit apart from the group. However, I met Kylie, who was so welcoming. She brought me to sit with her friends, and I realized that this is where I am meant to belong all along. I kept coming back to all the Shabbat Dinners, where I got to meet even more students from all over the South Bay. Our kitchen was going under renovations in December, not giving my family and I the space to fully celebrate Chanukkah. I was so happy to get to go to all the Chanukkah events at Hillel. Chanukkah is one of my favorite holidays, and I loved celebrating it with all my new friends. This summer, I will be going on Birthright. I had wanted to go for years, but it hadn’t felt right. Now, though, it feels right to go with Hillel SV. I now consider Hillel my second home and everyone in it my second family.

Anya, SJSU

Student Spotlight: Meet Karen

karenDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

To me, Hillel of Silicon Valley is my home away from home. The second you walk in there is such a warm and inviting feeling that you expect to see your mother in the kitchen making you chicken soup. The atmosphere and people instantly attracted me to Hillel and after my first Shabbat dinner I knew it was a place I could see myself creating memories. The sense of community that Hillel provided me is irreplaceable. It is a place that provides endless support and acceptance. The loving community of Hillel has also provided me with constant opportunities to learn about Judaism and strengthen my Jewish identity. My Jewish heritage is a big part of who I am and Hillel lets me explore and learn about my heritage in meaningful ways. I genuinely cannot imagine my student life without Hillel of Silicon Valley.

Karen, Foothill

Student Spotlight: Meet Spencer

spencerDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

Growing up, I have always been very Jewish. I participated in religious school, celebrated becoming bar mitzvah, confirmed my faith with my religious school, and experienced the land of Israel with my peers. I also actively participated in BBYO. Being Jewish is an essential part of who I am. When I discovered Hillel I found myself drawn to them not because of religion, but rather because of the community I experienced at my first few events. It was an added plus that Hillel was a place I could further explore my Judaic values and further solidify my ideals.
When I was a kid, celebrating Shabbat did not happen weekly; if anything, my family and I celebrated in once a month. Celebrating Shabbat meant having challah, lighting the Shabbat candles, and doing Kiddush. It really did not mean a lot to me. Thanks to the overwhelming joy that Shabbat at Hillel of Silicon Valley is, the tradition of Shabbat means more to me now than it ever has before. I now value that time; it’s special. There have been a few rare Friday nights where I have conflicts with Shabbat dinner. These nights always feel a little empty. In short, Hillel of Silicon Valley has provided me with myriad of opportunities to not only help me delve further into Judaism, but Hillel of Silicon Valley has also been there for me to find solace amidst the anti-Israel campus climate I come face to face with on a regular basis, and in addition to all of that, Hillel of Silicon Valley is my home. It is not just a place that reminds me of home. Hillel of Silicon Valley makes me always feel welcome and always feel at home. Thank you, Hillel of Silicon Valley for your never ending support of me and other Silicon Valley students!

Sincerely, Spencer, De Anza

Student Spotlight: Meet Luke

lukeDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

When I decided to attend SJSU, I never expected to enrich my Jewish culture. After a semester of adjusting to classes and college life, I found Alpha Epsilon Pi and the Hillel of Silicon Valley. I didn’t have much of a Jewish upbringing other than celebrating various holidays and attending my friends’ bar and bat mitzvahs. Hillel helped me find my place in Jewish culture. I found my home in ΑΕΠ, and Friday nights at Shabbat with my close friends. I’ve been graced to hear the wise words of so many inspiring and amazing men and women who care about the Jewish community. Hillel has helped me meet so many wonderful people and hear great stories while learning about my own heritage and culture.

Luke, SJSU

Student Spotlight: Meet Kylie

kylieDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

My name is Kylie Greenhut, I’m a junior at San Jose State University. My major in Hospitality Management, which means I have to be incredibly sociable and approachable. The Hillel of Silicon Valley provides to me an atmosphere of friendship and essence of home. I couldn’t imagine my college career without it, and frankly I don’t want to do such a thing. I have made so many life long friends from events that Hillel host for the college community. This is my home away from home. I’m from Los Angeles, so I’m not exactly close to my family. After finding my place at Hillel, I found myself wanting to go home less and stick around to help set up for Shabbat. The staff has been the most encouraging support system throughout my college experience. They were there for me when my grandmother passed away last year and encouraged me to become the President of the Jewish Student Union. I love being able to welcome new students into our Hillel family. Thank you so much for all your dearly appreciated donations. Because of your generous acts of kindness students will have a home to return to and support system that will always be in place.

Thank You, Kylie, SJSU

Student Spotlight: Meet Mike

mikeDear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

Hillel to me means many things, but first and foremost it means community. When I first came to Hillel in the Fall of 2013, it was introduced to me by a member of AEPi, the international Jewish fraternity. There was an immediate sense of welcoming when I walked through that door. Everyone was involved in some social interaction, be it talking to someone or just playing a game of pool. Everyone wanted to know everybody else and learn where they’re from. Hillel itself is first and foremost a place for Jewish college students to gather, but it never felt like they excluded those without Jewish roots. It was through their open arms that I began to learn about Jewish culture. The pinnacle of Jewish celebrations, perhaps, is Shabbat. Through Shabbat, students gather every Friday for free food, regardless if you have a place to go. It is the best way, in my opinion, that brings all students of many cultures together to embark on this Jewish tradition. This is why I consider Hillel to mean culture as well. It is through events like these, as well as Hebrew classes and Israel information sessions where you learn prayer, various traditions, language and other important aspects of Jewish society.

Mike, SJSU Alum

Student Spotlight: Meet Ashley


Dear Hillel of Silicon Valley supporters,

I started coming to events with Hillel because the community was welcoming and invited anyone to see what they were about. I have attended a few Shabbat dinners and I want to say thank you for your generosity in cooking for the group. Especially in college it’s difficult to find clarity with meals because students are always on the go and don’t appreciate their food. I like how at Hillel an emphasis is placed on spending time with each other, socializing, and eating together, as well as learning about Jewish culture. thank you for your time, I guarantee we all appreciate the energy and love put into the Friday nights we all spend together.

Ashley, SJSU