Penn State Hillel grows Jewish learning program
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EducationJewish Learning Fellowship

Penn State Hillel grows Jewish learning program

Almost 100 students are enrolled — a record number

Penn State Hillel's JLF group, taken fall semester last year (Photo courtesy of Penn State Hillel)
Penn State Hillel's JLF group, taken fall semester last year (Photo courtesy of Penn State Hillel)

Almost 100 students at Penn State are engaged in Hillel’s Jewish Learning Fellowship, a 10-week paid fellowship that takes a discussion-based approach to Jewish learning. The enrollment is a “record high,” according to Hillel officials.

Through the program, student discussions center around the theme of “Life’s Big Questions,” with topics ranging from “Jewish identity, tattoos, concepts of G-d, sex and intimacy, and the purpose of learning,” according to a press release.

“JLF has been a great way for me to be reintroduced to Judaism when I felt like I had left that part of my identity behind. It gave me a sense of community and faith,” Esther Gershenson, a Penn State freshman and participant in JLF said in a prepared statement.

“Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, ‘What we need more than anything else is not text books, but text people,’” said Rabbi Rob Gleisser, Penn State Hillel’s senior Jewish educator, in a prepared statement. “At Hillel we take that quote to heart. In our small group Jewish learning circles we learn about Judaism certainly, but more than that we learn how to be a proud member of a Jewish community through the act of intentional and purposeful self-reflection and sharing.” PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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