Your latest update on Jewish student life at Penn State!

Student Newsletter - November 4, 2016

Join us for our overseas Alternative Spring Break Trip to Honduras this year!

This year, Penn State Hillel and Rebuild-U are offering their second alternative break volunteer trip to Roatan, Honduras!

Check out last year’s trip!

Trip Basics:

  • Student Trip leader: Becca Lerman
  • Trip Staff: Hillel’s Director of Leadership Initiatives, Leah Chakoff, Springboard Fellow – Innovation Specialist, Emma Kaplan,  and Nationally Renowned  Motivational Speaker and Jewish Life Educator, Scott Fried
  • Trip dates: March 4-11 2016 (Penn State University Spring Break)
  • Cost per Participant: TBD  (cost to change depending on grant money raised by Hillel and indivuduals. Includes housing, 3 meals a day, flights, & on-the-ground transportation in Roatan)
  • Lodging: Splash Inn Dive Resort (West End Coxen Hole, Roatan, Honduras)
  • Meals: all meals are included in the cost of the program (dietary restrictions can be accommodated for)

Program Highlights:

  • Cool down from a hard day of community service on the beautiful beach
  • Interactions with locals who are able to tell their life stories
  • Midweek excursion to experience the culture of the beautiful island

Participant Requirements:

  • Passport
  • Must be capable and willing to perform  half day of hard manual labor and or other community needs such as painting projects
  • Must be willing to do individual fundraising
  • Provide a $250 deposit for trip upon acceptance

Click here to view a video of the project we will be working to continue: Stepping Up in Roatan

How do I get on this trip? Click here to apply!


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

D'var by Rabbi Danielle Leshaw

Noah built the ark for 120 years. Or was it 52 years? Maybe it was only five. Our rabbis can’t agree on how many years it took Noah to create and design, to cut wood, to find strong and reliable help, to assemble the pieces. But they do agree that it took Noah a bit of time, and that he was commanded to build the ark in front of everybody, on a mountaintop, for all to see. Noah didn’t build the ark in seclusion, like, say, in his wood shed, or behind a row of evergreen trees, or in dribs and drabs, fashioning it beneath a big blue tarp, waiting for the great reveal. Noah built the ark out front, and he didn’t rush to piece it together.
The rabbis want our good deeds on display, for all to see. Our actions – those that will help others towards goodness – are supposed to be witnessed. We can influence people. Noah’s slowpoke ark building was intended to help those around him see their evil ways and turn towards God. It didn’t work. Quite the contrast to what happens in the book of Jonah, where arks and stormy waters are also present, but where repentance takes place at lightning speed.
There’s a skeleton of an ark on Route 81, someplace in the middle of Pennsylvania. A big sign reads: Ark Being Built! Or something like that. I’ve passed it so many times I’ve either got it right or have muddled the memory. The ark has been under construction for the 15 years that I’ve been driving the region (and probably for much longer), and it never seems close to being finished. I’ve often wanted to ask the builders if this is intentional. Is their hope that every generation see not a completed ark, but rather the building of the ark? Do the folks who live in a farmhouse in a field in central Pennsylvania know the midrashic and rabbinic literature? That the public process of building something big, remarkable, godly, and sacred, is capable of helping others get on the right path?  
Time and materials and guidance matter, for sure, but the ultimate rabbinic message of Noah’s building remains clear. Be for yourself and for others a builder of good works, and you may very well inspire yourself and those around you.

Shabbat Shalom!


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 8th
Jewish Learners Fellowship
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center
November 11th
Birthright Reunion/Winter 2016 Trip
4:00pm - 6:00pm
The Deli and Z-Bar - 113 Hiester St, State College, PA 16801

November 11th
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

Penn State Hillel is seeking ambitious and talented leaders to lead the charge towards excellence. Executive Committee Members drive Hillel towards its mission of enriching the lives of Penn State's 5,000 Jewish students so they enrich the Jewish people and the world.

Applications are open for all board positions. Interested students apply to be considered for Executive Committee; specific positions will be determined after members are selected according to their strengths and talents.

The timeline for the Executive Committee selection process is as follows:

Applications open:  Monday 10/24

Applications close: Thursday 11/3.

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
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Penn State Hillel
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