The State of W&L Hillel Ben Brams '15

Hillel at Washington and Lee is back and better than ever!

First and foremost, we hired a new Hillel Director. Her name is Megan McLean, and she comes to us after many successful years as a youth leader in New Mexico. Megan is engaging, thoughtful and enthusiastic, and we are so lucky to have her.

Building off of Megan's appointment, Hillel has done a great job of maintaining the momentum generated from last year. We have our biggest class of Jewish first-years ever, and many of them continue to be familiar faces at our events. We had a wonderful High Holy Days-first-year Jordan Goldstein and Rabbi Stephanie, imported from Hebrew Union College, did an amazing job of leading services.

Looking forward, we have many exciting upcoming programs on our calendar. Hebrew classes have started and our VIP (Very Important Professor) dinner series begins next week. Next week, we will also be going to Roanoke for Shabbat with other Hillel students from Radford University, Roanoke College and Virginia Tech. Rabbi Werbin, who teaches our Hebrew classes here on campus, will lead that service in Roanoke and has promised all attendees another awesome night. Our winter Birthright trip is set; in addition to students from Temple University, we have four students going from W&L, and I know they are all very excited.

I am struck by a recent conversation I had with a prospective Jewish student and his family with whom I had dinner. We got to talking about W&L in general and, more specifically, how unique our Hillel truly is when compared to other schools. When I explained to the father of the prospective student about the positive, constructive interaction between the seniors and first-years, his shock was evident; it seemed as though he had yet to encounter a school where the older students looked out for and nurtured the younger ones. And in this moment, words from my mother came back to me: "There is something to be said for being a mensch." His amazement made me feel proud to be a part of W&L Hillel and everything we-as students, as an organization and as a community-have to offer.

And if the start to this year provides any indicator of that appreciation, I'd say we are doing just fine.