Your latest update on Jewish student life at Penn State!

Student Newsletter - November 11, 2016

After this week's election, all Penn State students are feeling the discord occurring in our country and in our nation. As an organization that believes we all fit under one tent, we invite anyone to attend a Shabbat discussion and dinner to discuss how we can come together and remain the inclusive university we all seek.

Discussion begins at 6:30, dinner to follow.

Free for students thanks to our generous donors


A little bit of Torah to bring in Shabbat!  
Read this week's Dvar, and past, on our website

D’var by Assistant Director, Rob France

Our election exposed vast differences in how we see our country and the world. It brought to the fore voices that are under-heard in our country, on our television sets, or on our laptop screens – those of non-college educated whites, black communities, Muslim communities, Latino communities, and LGBTQA communities. Regardless of whom you voted for, we all have been witness to the discord in our country. I’m left paralyzed with how to move forward.

This week’s parsha, Lech Lecha, offers some insight. The biblical characters, Abraham and Sarah, faced similar challenges that we encounter. They lived in a time where few people believed in God. Abraham had the courage to see things differently – to remember that there was one God, and to live in unabiding faith.

Abraham’s unabiding faith secured God’s blessing. But, surrounded by people who thought differently than him, with different priorities than his, and with a different way of life than him, we can understand why Abraham would stay at home, wallowing in the challenging times in which he lived. He could have taken his blessing and be comforted in knowing that he was in good hands. And yet, Abraham and Sarah did the exact opposite. They went forth. They traveled and talked to anyone and everyone, regardless of belief. They opened their tent to the stranger. They treated each and every guest with an audacious hospitality. They listened, empathized, questioned, and learned.

Abraham did not receive his blessing because he went forth. He received his blessing, and then went forth, with an unabiding love for God and for all people. The distinction is critical.

As Jews, we are all inheritors of God’s blessing to Abraham. We find ourselves in a similar situation to him – surrounded by those with different narratives, truths, and realities. Our blessing comes with responsibility.  We must not hide in our Twitter feeds, in our offices, or within our communities. If we are ever to bridge the chasms that divide us in our country, we must go forth like Abraham, seeking the stranger, loving them, and treating them with an unbridled love and respect.

Shabbat Shalom, and may God bless the Jewish people and America.

Click here to learn about the Honduras tip or click here to learn about the New Orleans trip! Or email

November 7th
Rebuild – U Meeting
4:00pm - 4:30pm
HUB 009
November 7th
Student Executive Board Meeting
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Nurse Sciences Building
November 14th
Penn State Hillel Sports & Outdoors Club General Info Session
7:30pm - 8:30pm
218 Thomas 
November 15th
Jewish Learners Fellowship – Class
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center 
November 16th
Decorating Wooden Mezuzahs (Private)
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Cooper Hall 
November 16th
Dead Sea Face Masks (Private)
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Ewing Hall 

November 18th
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center
Challah For Hunger brings people together to bake and sell challah in effort to raise funds and awareness for social justice causes. Read more here
"I choose the rooms that I live in with care, 
the windows are small and the walls almost bare, 

there's only one bed and there's only one prayer; 
I listen all night for your step on the stair. 

But I know from your eyes 
and I know from your smile 
that tonight will be fine, 
will be fine, will be fine, will be fine 
for a while."

-Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships.

May your memory be a blessing.
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