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Student Newsletter - November 18, 2016

Thank you for making Penn State Hillel THE place for Jewish life on campus!


CAMPUS ENGAGEMENT INTERN OR ISRAEL ENGAGEMENT INTERN -- Calling dynamic, creative, and self-motivated individuals who want to dramatically enhance Jewish life on campus! Penn State Hillel is excited to offer several paid internship opportunities -- APPLY HERE

JEWISH STUDENT LIFE COMMITTEE -- We are seeking driven and passionate student leaders to create innovative and engaging Jewish programs for students on campus. Student Life Committee are responsible for general Jewish programming for High Holidays and Passover, but also social programs like Penn State’s Welcome Week to bring Jewish students together. APPLY HERE

PHONE A THON CALLERS -- WE ARE HIRING FOR SPRING SEMESTER -- $9.00/HOUR -- FLEXIBLE HOURS -- Penn State Hillel’s Phone-a-Thon is a year-long, student-led fundraising initiative that provides you with an opportunity to gain professional, leadership and relationship building skills. As a Caller, you play an integral role in helping Penn State Hillel achieve its mission. Callers reach out to alumni, parents and general supporters of our organization to raise money over the phone for our incredible programming. APPLY HERE
11/18/2016 - VAYEIRA/GENESIS 

D'var by Emma Kaplan, Innovation Specialist - Springboard Fellow

This week we read about many of the famous stories that together create the values we hold

closely in Judaism. Parsha Vayera takes us through the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the visit of three angels, the birth of Isaac, and the trials of Abraham. Many of these stories raise some troubling ideas that may leave us with feeling frustrated and with many questions.

Through the ups and downs of this Parsha, we eventually end up at a point where all things seem to be coming together. Abraham has been named the Father of the Great Nation, he would see over more than just one Nation, he would continue to be rich in livestock and crops, and finally after the disappointment of his first son, Ishmael, Abraham is given a Jewish son, Isaac. God could have ended the parsha right here and we all would have walked away feeling pretty good about the current situation of Abraham and Sarah.

But that wouldn’t be very exciting.

Instead of closing the chapter here, God decides that Abraham must go through a test to prove his loyalty. God says to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I will show you.” And Abraham listens. He takes his son to the mountains and ties him to the wood and raises the knife to sacrifice his greatest gift in order to follow God’s commands. But before Abraham can follow through with the task, God stops him and replaces Isaac for a ram to complete the sacrifice. Isaac survives and Abraham has passed the test.

This is the part of the Parsha where I am left feeling frustrated and confused. Why would God put Abraham through such pain just to prove his loyalty? In my endless search for answers through the modern textbook (google), I find varying responses from Rabbi to Rabbi. But one speaks loudly to me and to our generation. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says, “We cherish what we wait for and what we most risk losing. Life is full of wonders…. Judaism is a sustained discipline in not taking life for granted. We were the people born in slavery so that we would value freedom.”

I truly could not have said it better myself. Often times we find ourselves frustrated when things don’t work out the way we want them to. When we don’t get the grade we worked so hard for, when our dream job doesn’t work out, when we get broken up with by a significant other. In these times of sadness and frustration it’s hard to see the light of the situation, but an unknown genius once said, “everything is okay in the end, if it’s not okay then it’s not the end.” We mustn’t let the hardships bring us down or hold us back, rather we must see these difficulties as opportunities. We never know what door lies at the end of the dark hallway. “Life is full of wonders.”

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

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

Live Your Best Life- The Repair the World Fellowship is a unique 11 month opportunity for talented individuals ages 21 to 26 to recruit and engage the Jewish community to address social justice issues through meaningful service. The Fellowship takes place in Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Repair the World provides training, a living stipend, communal housing, and other what are you waiting for?

Apply Today! The first application deadline is January 31st.


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