Your latest update on Jewish student life at Penn State!
Student Newsletter - November 3, 2017
Apply Today | Student Executive Committee

We're looking for our next batch of passionate, driven, and dedicated leaders! The Penn State Hillel Executive Committee is committed to living out Penn State Hillel’s mission to enrich the lives of the estimated 5,000 Jewish students at Penn State so that they may enrich the world. Learn more about the positions and apply now through November 3rd. Applications are available here. Questions? Email current Student President, Sarah at

Apply Today | Student Life Committee

The Student Life Committee is a group of driven and passionate student leaders within Penn State Hillel. The group works together to plan innovative and engaging programming for all Penn State students. This group coordinates Penn State’s academic calendar and Jewish calendar with annual programming including Welcome Week, Shabbat and High Holidays events, and general social events. This committee works with staff members to receive in-depth leadership training and continued Jewish learning. This year-long commitment includes bi-weekly group meetings, several times for setting up/cleaning up Friday night Shabbat dinners, assistance in setting up High Holiday/Passover dinners, and general support and attendance at Hillel events throughout the year.

The Jewish Student Life Committee seeks 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.

Applications are open through November 10. Applications are available here. Questions? Email current Student President, Sarah at

Israel Trips 101 | Other than Birthright

Long Term Programs | 2 to 12 Months

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.

Trip Options:

  • Jerusalem – Develop your professional future and build your resume through a high-level internship side by side with Israeli peers. This tailor-made Jerusalem-based internship program provides you with work experience based on your skills, interests and future plans. Hillel Onward Israel in Jerusalem is an immersive internship program offering resume-building placements in a wide variety of opportunities in the greater Jerusalem area. Click here for more details.
  • Tel Aviv: Live, work, and play on the Mediterranean! The Hillel Onward Israel program in the bustling start-up city of Tel Aviv offers you the opportunity to develop your professional future and build your resume through a high-level internship tailor-made to you! The heart of our program is a resume-building work experience based on your skills, interests and future plans. You will also have the chance to connect with Israeli peers through Hillel’s vast Israel network. Click here for more details.

Click here to learn more about Onward Israel or contact Lauren Levinson.

Masa Israel Journey
Masa Israel Journey is the leader in immersive international experiences in Israel for young adults (18-30). Our diverse portfolio of study abroad, internship, service learning, or Jewish studies programs help you grow—as a person, a professional, and a leader— while also developing a robust global professional network. Since its founding in 2004 by the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Israel, together with The Jewish Agency for Israel, over 120,000 young people from more than 60 countries have participated in Masa Israel programs.
Masa Israel Journey offers over 200 study, internship, volunteer opportunities all over Israel, lasting between five and twelve months:
  • Gap Year
  • Study Aborad
  • Intern
  • Volunteer
  • Jewish Studies
Click here more about Masa Israel or contact Lauren Levinson (a Masa Alum!) for more information.
Short Term Programs | 3 Weeks &Less

Hasbara Fellowships
The Hasbara Fellowships Israel Program is an exclusive 16-day Israel advocacy training program focused on offering pro-Israel student leaders the opportunity to gain leadership skills, network with their peers, meet Israelis and Palestinians from all sides of the political spectrum, and travel to strategic locations throughout the country.

On the program you will:

  • Tour strategic points throughout Israel, such as the Syrian border, the Gaza border, key Jerusalem landmarks, and Palestinian towns.
  • Visit Israeli humanitarian organizations, hi-tech companies, the Knesset and Supreme Court
  • Meet with Israeli leaders and influencers including journalists, diplomats, military leaders, and academics
  • Receive practical training in public speaking, social media content creation and management, and other effective ways to defeat anti-Israel campaigns.
  • Learn how to create strategic impact plans; effectively communicate about Israel, build relationships with other student groups, plan and host campus initiatives, and answer the difficult questions about Israel.

Only highly recommended and engaged students (with at least two semesters remaining on campus) will be accepted to the program. Apply to spend YOUR winter break in Israel here!

Volunteers For Israel  
There are 4 main ways for college students to volunteer with us:

  1. Individual Trip: Volunteers for Israel is a program for anyone looking to experience Israel like an insider. VFI is the exclusive representative of Sar-El in the United States, which places volunteers year round on IDF bases doing civilian work for 1-3 weeks. I recommend it to all of my students who are looking for a fun and meaningful way to see Israel. VFI is a way to experience Israel through an insider’s look rather than just through a tour. Individuals can volunteer at any time of the year – just check out the schedule at here.
  2. General Birthright Extension: Volunteers for Israel is the perfect extension to a Birthright trip! Not only is the program completely free, but participants are also provided with housing and food and may have access to a youth hostel on the weekends at no cost. Trips run from Sunday morning through Thursday evening and volunteers get the weekend free to spend off the base. Interested participants should look up the scheduled volunteer trip dates on the VFI website and apply for the dates closest to the end of their Birthright trip. For birthright extension, they can start on any Sunday immediately following the end of birthright trip. Questions? Contact Ariel at Application can be found here. 
  3. Alternative Break Program & Special Grants exclusively for Hillel: We are partnering with Hillels across the country to organize private trips of 10 -12 students to volunteer through VFI for 1, 2, or 3 weeks over your winter or spring break or summer vacation. VFI will subsidize the airfare cost to Israel by offering $500 per student – up to a total of $6,000. More on that below!
  4. International Youth Program: Are you 17-25? This IDF base summer program is specially designed for you! You will live, work, socialize, and have fun with young Israeli soldiers and other volunteers from around the world during one or both of the 3-week sessions. Click here to check out the VFI website to see descriptions of the programs, the schedule for 2015-16, testimonials, photos and more.

++ VFI offers a generous grant program exclusively for Hillel students. VFI will subsidize the airfare cost to Israel by offering $500 per student – up to a total of $6,000. VFI also offers a customized extension option for students who go on the Penn State Hillel Birthright trip.

Zionist Organization of American Leadership Mission
The ZOA Student Leadership Mission to Israel is a fun and intense two weeks of education and advocacy training in Israel. Students will have the opportunity to travel throughout the Jewish state, including Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, and many strategic border regions (Western Negev, Galilee, Jordan Valley, and Golan Heights).  Students will also meet with Knesset Members, journalists, policy experts, military experts, and much more. This trip is intended for students who are Israel activists on their campuses or are planning to become Israel activists in the near future. The trip will arm you with the facts and unique personal experiences you need to be a strong Zionist activist on campus.

  • Trip (A) will commence on December 24th, 2017 and end on January 7th, 2018.
  • Trip (B) will commence on December 31st, 2017 and end on January 14th, 2018.

Applications are available here

November 6 | Holocaust Survivor Mark Schonwetter

The Penn State Jewish Studies department and Penn State Hillel are co-sponsoring for a Holocaust speaker to come share their story on campus! The event will take place in Worship Hall in the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on November 6th, at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30pm.

Survivor Mark Schonwetter and his daughter Ann Arnold will both be there to share a story that is crucial for future generations to hear. Ann is the author of Together: A Journey for Survival, which is written about her father's journey through this very difficult time:

"Manek [Mark] was six years old when his world began to collapse. At first, his young eyes failed to see it, but reality came quickly into focus, when his loving gentle mother was forced to beat him in order to save his life. That is when he realized the Nazis wanted to kill him. Suddenly thrust into a new role as man of the house, would he be able to help keep his family safe? Was he strong enough to protect them? He knew only one thing ... they would survive if they could stay …TOGETHER.

In Together: A Journey for Survival, Ann Arnold shares her family's journey through Poland's countryside as a war of nations thunders around them. The story displays the magnificent strength of a mother's love and the incredible courage of good people during the worst of times."

There will be an opportunity at the end to ask the family any questions you may have! Please join us for this special event!

Shabbat Shalom | On Campus

Services: 5:30PM + Dinner: 6:30PM

An Interfaith Shabbat bringing together religious and cultural communities on campus. The service will be focused on Holy Places and their significance to different communities.

Coming Up On Campus

Link Cookie Decorating
November 2nd, 2017
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Thomas 217

Interfaith Shabbat
November 3rd, 2017
5:30pm - 6:30pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

Michigan State Watch Party
November 4th, 2017
12:00pm - 5:00pm
Email for location

Together- A Journey for Survival 
November 6th, 2017
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

Homecoming Shabbat Dinner
November 11th, 2017
6:00pm - 8:00pm
State Theatre Attic

For more information visit

Israel American Council | National Conference

This weekend is the IAC National Conference in Washington DC. We're sending 4 students there to experience influential thought leaders, industry experts, senior political figures, diplomatic figures, community leaders, prominent journalists and more. This inspiring gathering will explore Israeli-American and Jewish identity, bring together the Israeli-American and Jewish communities for deep dive discussions, and will yield takeaways that will help us, together, to strengthen Israel and our communities.

The IAC National Conference offers participants the opportunity to engage and select from a variety of programs; plenaries, breakout sessions, interactive workshops, and facilitated discussions specifically tailored to meet the various interests of our community members and audience.

The conference will bring to life topics like philanthropy, community building, Israel, Israeli-American-Jewish hybrid identity, innovation and leadership.

Here is a little about the 3 of the 4 students attending IAC: 
Dan Yosipovitch 
Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Hometown: Miami FL
What are your plans for IAC at Penn State? Recruit new members and help coordinate and organize events and meet ups for the group.
Why do you want to go the the conference in DC? I want to learn more about Mishelanu, a subgroup of IAC for first generation Israeli-Americans, and meet other kids from campuses across the country. The conference is a great opportunity to develop methods on how to represent Israel on campus, listen to policy experts from both sides of the political spectrum and connect to my Israeli-American identity.

Alon Sidel 
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland.
What are your plans for IAC at Penn State? For me, Mishelanu is about bringing Israel to campus. I really want to bring together Israeli and Israeli-American students at Penn State.
Why do you want to go the the conference in DC? I want to go to the conference because I want ideas for what to do with IAC! Also, as an Israeli-American it's fun talking to people who grew up like me!

Ariel Sagie
Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: Originally from Israel- I lived there until 2008, then moved to the Bay Area in California.
What are your plans for IAC? I hope to plan events on Penn State campus that educate other students about Israel's incredible contributions to society, especially targeting students who have minimal knowledge about Israel, and are too afraid to ask to learn more.
Why do you want to go the the conference in DC? The main reason I am attending IAC is to strengthen my connection with Israel and the Israeli-American community. I am extremely lucky to call the special nation of Israel my home, and I am excited to take advantage of this opportunity to meet other Israelis and Israeli-Americans who feel the same way.
Challah For Hunger | Applications
If you have interest in becoming more involved in Jewish life on campus, meeting new people and getting involved in community service, please consider applying to this amazing organization. 

Board applications close Monday, November 5th. Click here to apply or learn more about the open positions.

Challah for Hunger is encouraging old and new members to apply. 
This Summer | Cleveland Internship Program


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