Your latest update on Jewish student life at Penn State!

Student Newsletter - Friday, February 10


Get to know LEV, Live For Every Victory, Hillel's THON org
A message from Melinda Schulner, LEV President and 2017 Dance 

We have definitely had our fair share of name changes but one thing has always stayed the same WE ARE Penn State’s Jewish THON org. From Hillel THON to HBT to LEV, we have always remained a Jewish THON family and have continued to grow in more ways than one. We have an incredible THON family (Layn, his brother Romeo, Tami and Ralphie) and they always know how to put a smile on our faces. From canning with our THON family to hosting Pasta dinners or ice cream socials benefiting THON, LEV has always been around for Jewish students to get involved in one of Penn State's proudest traditions. Each year at THON we hold down a section in the Bryce Jordan Center where we cheer loud supporting our dancer couple and watch our THON family have the time of their lives. LEV remains passionate throughout and continuously strives to be the best we can be FOR THE KIDS. We pride ourselves on maintaining a close-knit group with a family-feel.

We THON for Layn and his family, and for all the other kids, so no child has to fight this
alone! We THON in just 1 week! Please consider donating to our page, any amount helps us in the fight against pediatric cancer!

Melinda Schulner
#TBT this is why we #GoWithHillel

"To staff a birthright group is a privilege, to staff it as an Israeli- is an opportunity. You get to fall in love with your own country through your students. To bare witness as they create their own Israel story, make bonds and memories that will last a life time, and be a part of it all. To leave as group and come back as a tribe, what else could you ask for?" - Alona Lea Lipetz​, Israel Fellow
A little bit of Torah - From your Penn State Hillel Staff

D’var Torah–literally a “word of Torah,” a lesson or sermon interpreting a text, which can be delivered by anyone reflects a fundamental Jewish belief in the infinite interpretive possibilities of Torah. This concept is best articulated in Mishnah Avot 5:22, “Turn it and turn it; for everything is in it,” and in the rabbinic assertion that each person who stood at Sinai saw a different face of Torah (

Dvar by Leah Chakoff, Director of Leadership Initiatives 

This week’s parsha (Torah portion), Beshalach, is what some might consider to be a “juicy” one. To give a quick overview, the Children of Israel walk through the parted Red Sea to escape Pharaoh and his army. Then, Moses and the Israelites sing a song praising god. The Israelites complain that they are hungry and God rains manna over the desert. The Israelites complain that there is no water, so Moses strikes a rock which brings forth water. And finally, Amalek is defeated.

As eventful and busy as this parsha, I would like to focus in on the theme of rest. Take a moment and think about your this past week. What tasks did you need to get done to feel productive? My list would include things like keeping up with my ever-flowing inbox, planning meetings, and booking flights. When I think about these things, I feel stressed out. But on Shabbat, I do not do these things. It is a time for me to escape my work week and resort to my own slice of paradise.

Rest and Shabbat are synonymous in my eyes. It is a separation from the week allowing us to take a much needed break from our usual stressful activities. We live in a fast-paced world and it is amazing that we have a built in time in our tradition to slow down for a day. Have you ever pondered the first time Jews celebrated Shabbat and were introduced to this idea of rest? It actually began in this very parsha. When God brought manna into the dessert, he instructed the people to gather just enough for themselves for that day. Then on the sixth day, they were instructed to gather a double portion that would last them for two days. So the people did, and on the seventh day God provided no manna for people to gather. This allowed the people to take a break from the gathering of manna to just relax and enjoy what God had given them. It is also important to remember that before this, the people were enslaved in Egypt, having to work each and every day. It was a sign of faith that God not only brought forth good food, but he also brought forth rest.

No matter what is happening in our lives, we all need to take a break. It is important to our well-being. Think about something that makes you feel relaxed, or something that you wish you could always do to make you happy. My hope for you is that no matter your level of observance, you take the time to rejuvenate yourself during this Shabbat by doing something that allows you to feel relaxed.  

For past divrei torah visit:

TEDxPSU to Hold Main Conference: Breach

State College, PA –Sunday, February 12th, 2017 from 10am- 4pm, Penn State University will host its 7th annual TEDxPSU event, a full-day conference for students, faculty, and the community. This year the main conference will focus on the theme “Breach” which encompasses innovative ideas and breaking past the status quo. Some thought-provoking topics that will be covered include schizophrenia, police brutality, and a talk on the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  
Free and open to the public, those interested can register at Doors open at 9:30am. If media publications are interested in covering the conference we are able to provide details.
Noted speakers scheduled to appear:
  • Tim Simpson – Penn State Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Professor
  • Claudia Williams – Chief Frientorship Officer, founded The Human Zone
  • Glenn R. Ruse Jr. – Classicist and Roman Historian
  • Cecilia McGough – Schreyer Honors College student pursuing astronomy and astrophysics
  • Jonathan Marks – Trained lawyer and current director of the Bioethics Program at Penn State
  • Bella Glanville – International model, coach, and high school senior
  • Bruno Descaves – Master Puppeteer from Brazil
  • Matthew Stumpf – Unique background in psychology, communications, leadership, behavioral health, and public speaking
  • Peter Buckland – Academic Programs Fellow at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute
  • Theresa Vescio – Professor of Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies
  • Brian Davis – Penn State student who crafted the publication “The Penn State Treasure”
About TEDxPSU TEDxPSU is Penn State’s locally organized, student-run, yearly TEDx conference. Over the past seven years, we have provided students, faculty, staff, and State College community members with a memorable, interactive full-day TEDx conference full of enlightening talks on a wide breadth of topics. Our goal as an organization is two-fold. First, we aim to showcase the best research, ideas, and values that Penn State students, faculty, and alumni have to offer our community and beyond. Secondly, we bring in speakers from outside of our community to provide new perspectives on the world at large. Our reach extends to Penn State, State College, our Commonwealth campuses, and across the United States and the globe. We pledge to continuously provide novel “ideas worth spreading” to all of these communities.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a “TED like” experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalk videos and live speakers come together to spark deep discussion and connection in a group setting. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Contact: Megan Berryman at

February 12th, 2017 @ 10:00am - 4:00pm
Schwab Auditorium

Rebuild - U Meeting
February 13th, 2017 @ 4:00pm - 4:30pm
HUB 009

Student Executive Board Meeting
February 13th, 2017 @ 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Nurse Sciences Building

Monday's with Miriam: Welcoming the Stranger
February 13th, 2017 @ 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Starbucks on Garner
  Challah For Hunger Bake
February 16th, 2017 @ 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

February 17th @ 6:30pm - 9:30pm
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
Looking for a job, fellowship, internship? 
Check out our job board for open positions! 

“Springboard has been, hands down, the best out-of-college job I could have dreamed of. This job has truly changed the entire trajectory of my life." -Emma Kaplan, Springboard Innovation Specialist

Springboard Fellowship with Hillel International: Recent grads or graduating seniors -- reimagine and redesign the Jewish experience on campus during this two-year paid fellowship. Gain invaluable skills in design thinking, cultivate creativity, and galvanize the Jewish student community. Apply today! Questions? Ask Emma Kaplan or apply here!


"The number one commandment that's sighted in the Torah is to love the stranger," France said. "It's said 36 times: 18 is a really significant number, 18 times two is super significant so it's kind of in our system to know that we were strangers once. We're supposed to treat other people like we want to be treated because we're supposed to know what that's like." - Rob, Assistant Director via Interfaith panel aims to break boundaries between religious traditions with 'Of Many' movie screening by The Daily Collegian

The HUC-JIR and URJ are hosting a Social Justice Shabbaton in partnership with several Hillels in the area. The event will bring together Reform and progressive Jewish students to explore social justice and discover new ways for Jewish students to take action on campus. Throughout the event, we’ll spend time in Shabbat services and dinner, meeting students from other campuses, and recommitting ourselves to social justice on campus.  

The event is $50 per student and housing is student-hosted by students in New York City. If you have some students who are interested, they can register here!

Penn State Hillel is happy to pay registration for this event through JewPAC funding. Apply HERE.
Have you already been on Birthright but want to go back to Israel? No problem! Onward Israel applications are also open! 

About Onward Israel
When you grow, so do your opportunities. Global experience gives you that extra competitive edge.

Our programs take you Onward - personally and professionally - and allow you an authentic taste of modern day Israel while gaining experience and knowledge through an internship opportunity.
Onward Israel is designed with the beginning in mind: The beginning of your success story.
Start up your future in Israel. Yalla! Click here to learn more about Onward Israel.
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