Hillel at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) is doing quite well in spite of the pandemic—and perhaps because of it! Their well-attended Passover Seder on Zoom began the momentum for what followed. Students were interested in a weekly Shabbat service, a Torah study and also beginner Hebrew classes. All three were offered; classes met starting in May and are continuing to this day. More students continue to join the initial core group of five students.
Once SCSU classes began in person in September, the Hillel chapter began having a hybrid Shabbat, both in-person and online for those who were not physically on campus. They meet outdoors in a beautiful space in the Remembrance Garden. On most nights, there were 10-15 students (in-person and online). They celebrated Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and even had a nice break-fast meal outdoors. Their most recent project was building a pop-up sukkah. The chapter has also started a book blub and a Prayerbook Hebrew class.
Of note, most of the students they are attracting are new to their Judaism, and looking to learn and deepen their connection.
“We are lucky to have an amazing group of student leaders who have been relentless in putting Hillel on the map at Southern,” says Rabbi Barbara Paris. “For a rabbi, it has been a dream come true finding students who want to learn and grow and explore their Judaism together.”
Find out more about Hillel at Southern Connecticut State University at owlconnect.southernct.edu/organization/Hillel.