Brown RISD Hillel Parent Newsletter
Sivan 5773May 2013
In This Issue
By the Numbers
Support Us
Introducing Hillel's New Rabbi
In the News
Arts & Culture
Religious Life and Learning
Student Engagement
By the Numbers

1375 views of our Purim Facebook album.

100 attendees at our ADOCH Open House.


Three Hillel student leaders winning awards from the Office of Chaplains and Religious Life (Sarah Forman '13, Joey Resnick '13, and Lex Rofes '13)


One Student Activities Office award for the Holocaust Initiative at Brown University (HIBU) for making a "dramatic entrance" on campus.

Support Our Community

As the end of the school year and Commencement approach, we hope you will consider supporting our unique community by making a gift to sustain the Jewish future at Brown, RISD, and beyond.


If you have already made a donation this year, thank you for your support. Please consider an additional year-end contribution.


If you haven't already made a gift, please donate today to support our Jewish future by enabling all of the great opportunities that Brown RISD Hillel provides for Jewish students on College Hill.  


Introducing Hillel's New Rabbi

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Rabbi Michelle Dardashti will be the next Associate Chaplain of the University for the Jewish Community at Brown and Rabbi of Brown RISD Hillel. Michelle distinguished herself from a crowded field of applicants through her ability to compellingly translate Judaism for the modern day and through her relationship-based approach to building community. She will start this summer prior to the start of the 2013-2014 school year.  For more information, please click here.
In the News

The Brown Daily Herald covered the Holocaust Initiative at Brown University's Yom Hashoah event, which brought survivors to speak to students and members of the community about their personal stories of the Holocaust.


The Moral Voices keynote address with Betty Anne Waters was featured in the Daily Herald.


Ian Callender '15 blogged about his experiences planning the first ever Northeast Shabbaton.


Brown RISD Hillel's collaborative mural project was featured in the Brown Daily Herald and the Blog Daily Herald


An article in The Jewish Week highlighted the new "Kindle Your Judaism" project launched by Rabbi Mordechai Rackover. 


"Halfway," a Hillel Gallery Project exhibit by sophomore Brown students, was written up in the Blog Daily Herald.


Heartbeat, a group of young Israeli and Palestinian musicians, performed at Hillel to a packed house and garnered coverage in the Brown Daily Herald. 

Students on our Taglit-Birthright Israel trip over winter break


Brown RISD Hillel
Brown's Commencement/Reunion Weekend is next weekend. If you're in town, stop by Hillel for any of our events throughout the weekend!  Highlights include a welcome reception, special Shabbat services and dinner, and an open house before the Procession on Sunday.  For a complete schedule and to make meal reservations, please visit our website.
In addition to this latest edition of the Brown RISD Hillel newsletter which highlights some of our programs, we invite you to check out our website, find us on Facebook, or sign up for our Twitter feed to learn more about Jewish life at Brown and RISD.
Have a wonderful Shavuot - hag sameach!

collaborative social justice mural
Students passing through the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center participated in Hillel's collaborative mural project, which brought the campus together to discuss connections between personal identity and social justice.
Arts and CultureSemester 
  • The Granoff Center for the Creative Arts co-hosted a show with Brown RISD Hillel featuring work from Israel's premier arts academy, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. The gallery opening was curated by the head of the Ceramics and Glass Design Department, Professor Muli Ben Sasson, and included the best of the contemporary works of Bezalel graduates from the last five years.
  • Special FXtra Purim brought students together to celebrate Purim and learn how to make homemade costumes. The event featured a lesson on Hollywood makeup using items found in dorm rooms.
2013 annual meeting
Student leaders being honored at the 2013 Annual Meeting


  • This year, we've given the gift of Israel travel to over 70 students from Brown and RISD through our winter and summer trips through Taglit-Birthright Israel. Highlights from our winter trip included meeting the Mayor of Haifa, hiking the historic Mt. Arbel, and learning about biological farming at Shvil HaSalat! Participants from recent trips submitted photos on the theme of "Perspectives" for the Israel Photo Exhibit in Hillel's Gallery.  
  • We also were able to keep in touch with four students studying at Israeli universities in both the fall and spring semesters and have a number of students participating in the Onward Israel program with internships in Jerusalem and Haifa this summer. 
  • Our Israel Committee planned events celebrating Israeli culture such as a concert by Heartbeat, a group of Israeli and Palestinian musicians who create dialogue through music, a Yom Haatzmaut BBQ, and a pre-reading period stress-relief falafel fest where students cooked (and ate) delicious Israeli salad, falafel, and hummus.
Our winter 2012/2013 Taglit-Birthright group with the Mayor of Haifa

  • Brown Students for Israel has been heavily involved in the campus Israel discussion, recently holding an event entitled "Israeli Democracy: Competing Visions of a Jewish State" to provide a forum for students to discuss how different visions of Zionism manifest in Israeli electoral politics. BSI continues to focus on its ongoing goals to increase its role in campus discussion, promote pro-Israel views and critical discussion, and educate the Brown student body. 
  • J Street U Brown sent a group of student leaders to the J Street U National Student Summit, where they met with hundreds of other student activists from across the country. The group heard from and talked with public intellectuals from all over the political spectrum and strategized about how to build up the grassroots constituency for two states.      
Our community commemorated Israeli soldiers and victims of terror at Hillel's Yom Hazikaron ceremony


Tzedek (Social Justice)Semester   
  • The inaugural year of Moral Voices saw several events focused on wrongful convictions, including a multi-faith text study and "Three Steps to a False Confession" with Detective Jim Trainum. Following a screening of "Conviction," keynote speaker Betty Anne Waters spoke about her story of fighting for 18 years to overturn her brother's wrongful murder conviction.
  • Prior to Purim, Hillel held a toiletry drive for Crossroads Rhode Island and we learned how our assembled care packages relate to the mitzvah of matanot l'evyonim (gifts to the poor).
  • Right before Passover, students led a Fair Trade Chocolate Seder to discuss modern slavery in the chocolate industry and why we as Jews should care about this, especially in light of the Passover story. 
  • Tzedek Shabbat, a weekend focused on homelessness awareness and community service, capped a busy semester of learning about social justice issues and helping those in the local community.
  • This summer 15 participants from Brown and RISD will travel to Argentina with JDC Entwine, engaging with Argentinean Jewish peers in doing service work connected with JDC's ongoing efforts assisting the Jewish community of Argentina.     
argentina orientation
The student participants on our Argentina Service trip - along with Hillel's Director of Engagement, Alisa Kotler-Berkowitz, and JDC's Program Specialist, Evan Rosenstock - gather for their final orientation before the trip.


Religious Life and LearningSemester
  • Our Holidays Committee hid matzah all over campus as a part of the Great College Hill Afikomen Hunt. Clues were given out each day over social media during the week after Passover which sent students on a hunt all over campus for the matzah.
  • Following a Purim cabaret co-hosted by Queer Hillel and the Holidays Committee during Shabbat dinner, "Who Wants to Be a Megillionaire?" put a game show spin on your typical Megillah reading. Contestants dressed up and answered questions about the Purim story throughout the night.
  • "Adam and Eve Were Vegan! A Look at Modern Food Ethics from a Jewish Perspective" brought Akiva Gersh to speak about food ethics from a Jewish perspective.
Dressed in costume for the Purim megillah reading 

Student EngagementSemester 
  • The semester started off with a blast to the past as we reminisced at 90s Night and put our minds to the test at trivia night brought to us by the Hillel Social Committee. Most recently, the Social Committee teamed up with First-Year Students at Hillel (FYSH) to host Bruno's Bar Mitzvah Bash, a celebration for Brown's beloved mascot.    
  • The 2013 Northeast Shabbaton brought students from all over the Northeast to Hillel for a weekend packed with Shabbat programming, Torah learning and schmoozing with new peers.
  • As part of A Day on College Hill, Hillel welcomed admitted students to our "Open House Coffee House", featuring food, live performances by Yarmulkazi and Hillel-o-l., and activity booths designed for students to learn more about opportunities available through the Jewish community.  
Prospective students got to know life at Hillel at the Open House Coffee House during A Day on College Hill.