Your latest update on Jewish student life at Penn State!

Student Newsletter - August 26, 2016

A look back...
We hope everyone enjoyed their first week back! It was great to see all of you on campus. Join us tonight to for Shabbat. Services begin at 6:30PM, dinner at 7:30PM.

P.S. Check out our photos from Welcome Week 2016 here!
A little bit of torah to bring in Shabbat!
- 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 (

D’var Torah by Alex Bolotovsky, Director of Institutional Advancement 

In 1676, in a letter to Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” A man of great knowledge and achievement, Newton understood that he could not have accomplished all that he has done without building on a foundation of those that came before him. He demonstrates humility and a deep appreciation of everything that came before that supported his success.

The modesty and humility that Newton exhibits in his letter is the kind of humility that we can see commanded in this week’s Torah Portion (Parshat Ekev/ Deuteronomy 7:12- 11:25).

“…12 when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,… 17 You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”

This passage clearly reminds us that we must always be humble about our success and understand that it cannot happen in a vacuum. Whether we believe in the God of the Bible, understand God differently, or question God’s existence, we must remember that were is not for our ancestors, our teachers, our friends, our support system, and maybe some luck, we could never find success. One of the greatest thinkers in history, Sir Isaac Newton, understood this, and this week, the Torah reminds us that we must internalize this as well.

May we all find success and humility! Shabbat Shalom!


1. We LOVE coffee (tea, ice cream, bagel) dates. Sign up on our website and our staff will treat you! 

2. Its never to early to talk Birthright Israel. Registration opens in less than a month. For more information, contact our new Israel Engagement Coordinator, Lauren Levinson, or check our Birthright Israel page

This Week On Campus:

Hike Mount Nittany - Welcome Week

August 28th, 2016
10:00am - 1:00pm



September 2, 2016
6:30pm - Services
7:30pm - Dinner9:00pm


Penn State Hillel’s Link Program is a yearlong engagement initiative that pairs first year students (Linksters) with upperclassmen (Links). For a first year student, an upperclassman serves as a peer mentor, buddy, and link to all things Penn State. First year students who register to be a Linkster will be matched with a Link based on the self-described interests and personality of the student. In addition to the peer mentorship component of Link, various events will be held throughout the year. 

  • Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors: Click here to apply.
  • Freshmen: Click here to apply.
Penn State Hillel’s Phone-a-Thon is a year-long, student-led fundraising initiative. The Phone-A-Thon internship provides an opportunity to gain professional, leadership and relationship building skills. As a Student Caller, you play an integral role in helping Penn State Hillel achieve its mission. Student Callers reach out to alumni, parents and general supporters of our organization to raise money over the phone for our incredible programming (i.e. Shabbat dinners, the Chicken Soup Hotline, Israel events, etc.). If you are interested in fundraising for the future of Jewish life at Penn State, please apply here. For more information, contact Hannah Giterman, Director of Community Engagement, at
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Penn State Hillel
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