Your latest update on Jewish student life at Penn State!
Student Newsletter - April 28, 2017

In light of Yom Hashoah (April 23-24), please join us tonight for
Holocaust Remembrance Shabbat, honoring the lives of those we lost as well as those still living. Each of you will have an opportunity to light a candle in memory of the Holocaust victims as well as take pride honoring and remembering our history. Join us for this beautiful ceremony as we do our part to never forget

Candle Lighting Ceremony: 6:30PM
Dinner: 7:30PM

Free for students thanks to our generous donors.
Tips and Tricks To Get You Through Finals:

1. Channel your inner Beyonce: 

Exams have NOTHING on us. 

2. Prepare a boatload of snacks

Food is fuel. Food that is fuel is probably supposed to be healthier than what's pictured above but lets be real.... its finals week and the only thing getting us through is that extra bag(s) of Doritos. 

3. Craft a solid playlist. 

Pop those headphones in and pretend you're at Hogwarts. Nothing gets your prepared for an exam like Harry Potter and some dinosaurs (we don't get that part either but the point is HARRY). 

4. Get organized.

Organization is key. Make a plan - prepare a schedule for yourself, organize your studying material, and get to work! 

5. Check out these helpful study hacks

6. Visit Hillel for that extra motivational support (and that extra cup of coffee).

Good news - we do care about you and we do have coffee. Stop by the Pasquerilla Center anytime for a little pick-me-up.

7. Schedule time for sleep. 

Never-ever has an overnight study sesh helped anyone.
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 (

By Hannah Giterman, Director of Community Enagement

This week’s Torah portion is not an easy Torah portion to read and probably not a favorable one for B’nai Mitzvah to read aloud (I would know, it was mine). In this week’s parsha, Tazria- Metzora, we’re dealing with some archaic laws around tumah and taharah, purity and impurity. The portion opens with the laws of childbirth; God describes the rituals of purification for woman after childbirth and how they differ for the birth of a male vs. female (note: a topic for another time, gender inequality in Torah). Next, we get into the ins and outs of tzara-at, a skin disease often translated as leprosy. God explains the methods of diagnosing and treating this disease, how the sufferer should work with the high priest to cure the disease, and how a community should respond to those baring the illness.

For this week’s d’var, some lessons learned from this gnarly disease, tzara-at. The Torah goes into great detail about the skin diseases that afflicted the community at that time. We read about the different types, how they are diagnosed, and the effects this had community.  Ultimately, the Kohen, or high priest, is the man with the answers -- he observes each case and determines what should be done next. This ultimately leads to the diseased being recognized as “impure”, being held in quarantine for 7 days, or more, and/or being removed from the community until cured and reconsidered as “pure”.

There are a lot of questions that can be asked from this parsha, but I wanted to know how one even contracted such an awful disease? Later we learn that lashan hara, translated as gossip, slander, or evil speak, is the main culprit. Yup, that’s right, gossip. We’ve all been effected by or participated in gossip. We’ve shared stories that weren’t ours to share, we’ve told rumors we heard in the hallway, and we’ve been hurt by slander from others. Since we’re not exactly contracting tzara-at after every ill word we speak, what is the lesson here?

A Jewish folktale vividly illustrates this lesson: a man went about the community telling rumors of his neighbor. Later, realizing the damage he has caused, he began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged for forgiveness, saying he would do anything to make amends. The rabbi told the man, "go to the store and buy a feather pillow, cut it open, and on your way home, leave a trail of feathers." The man thought this was a strange request, but simple enough that he gladly participated. The next day, the man returns to the rabbi and aske what was next.

“Now go and gather the feathers,” the rabbi instructed the man. What seemed a simple task turned out to be impossible; the feathers had flown far and wide and the man could not retrieve a single one. Upset and discouraged, the man returned to the rabbi to admit that he had not succeeded. The rabbi said, “You can no more make amends for the damage your words have caused than you can collect the feathers that have flown far and wide.”

This is lashan hara. Once a story, a rumor, or gossip leaves your lips, you never know where it could end up. Like feathers in the wind, lashan hara carelessly floats from one ear to the next, never fully disappearing. Although we may consider the Torah’s description of consequences for lashan hara a bit extreme, we are taught a valuable lesson. We must remember to think before we speak and consider how our words affect those around us. Fortunately, for us, we don’t develop tzara-at but the effects our words have on others remain the same.
We are taught by the Talmud that lashon ha-ra kills three: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about whom it is told.

Leah Chakoff - come back, we miss you already! As many of you know, yesterday was Leah's last day on campus. We're crushed to see her go but so honored to have had her here for 3 incredible years. Leah, you've made such an impact on Jewish life at Penn State. Through your thousands of coffee dates, the CEI program, JLF, Alternative Break, and your killer jams on the guitar (to name a few), you've touched the lives of so many. Your contagious smile and ability to make everyone feel at home will be missed. We love you, Leah. Best wishes on your next chapter in San Fransisco! 💙💙💙

April 30th 2017 
Voices of the Silenced
3:00pm - 5:00pm
The Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra
Still Looking For A Summer Gig?

Pardes Social Justice Fellowship:
Reserved for an outstanding Year Program applicant who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of social justice, either as a student, professional or volunteer lay leader. Applicants should be passionate about the field and interested in infusing their work with a deep level of Jewish knowledge relating to social justice issues. Click here for more info. Deadline for application: May 4th

Pardes Conflict Resolution Fellowship:
Reserved for an outstanding Year Program applicant who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the broader field of conflict resolution, conflict management and peace-building, either as a student, professional or volunteer lay leader. Applicants should be passionate about the field and interested in infusing their work with a deep level of Jewish knowledge relating to the theory and practice of conflict resolution. Click here for more info. Deadline for application: May 4th.
Text Comes Alive at Pardes
100 Gifts, 100 Days

Penn State Hillel’s ‘100 Days, 100 Gifts’ is a 100-day awareness and fundraising campaign, running from March 22, 2017 to June 30, 2017. Every day, see one more way our Annual Campaign directly impacts the approximated 5,000 Jewish students at Penn State.

Over the next 100 days, follow our progress and learn more about how Penn State Hillel is empowering Penn State students to pursue tzedek (social justice), tikkun olam (repairing the world), and Jewish learning, and to support Israel and global Jewish peoplehood.

Make an impact today by visitng

Copyright © 2016 Penn State Hillel, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Penn State Hillel
114-117 Pasquerilla Spiritual Center
University ParkPa  16802