By Danielle Miccio
October 18, 2012
College is a time for learning new things, and identifying who you are. For most students this involves creating a religious identity. Students look for an outlet for their curiosity, or a religious community to worship with while in a new place.
This was difficult for Jewish students and those curious about Judaism at Lock Haven University. Steven Marks, a psychology major and political science minor, and Brooke Kibler, a communication major, sought out to change this.
“This campus has a limited amount of Jewish knowledge,” Kibler said.
Hillel is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. Jewish students who are a part of Hillel study and celebrate the Jewish traditions as well as enrich their identity. The Jewish community places a great deal of importance on Hillel as it is a way to ensure the future of their faith.
“[Jewish] kids come to a school and look for a Hillel,” Kibler said. “I know my parents’ first question was ‘does this school have a Hillel?’”
Around the middle of September Marks and Kibler were tossing the idea of starting a Hillel.
“It was really the club fair that got us thinking. We knew that was going to be a good way to really see who would be interested,” Marks said.
After the club fair Marks and Kibler found about nine people who were seriously interested in starting. They had one unofficial interest meeting and they were able to get everything they needed to start their club.
“This first meeting was really where everything fell into place,” Marks said.
LHU’s Hillel is currently meeting every other Thursday. They have discussions about current Jewish topics. They recently built a sukkah, or Jewish prayer hut, in the synagogue by East Campus. They also have a service at the synagogue one Friday a month. In the future they are looking to be able to offer Hebrew lessons.
As a new Hillel, Marks and Kibler realized they would need help. They are working with Penn State University’s Hillel for support and guidance.
“We really needed it. I never knew anyone who had been a part of a Hillel, we needed someone to help us start,” Kibler added.
Currently the two Hillel’s are trying to get a Jewish singer to come to Penn State as an opportunity for them to celebrate LHU’s Hillel getting started.
Marks and Kibler agreed that they want to include anyone and everyone who is interested in the religion or club.
“We accept everyone,” Marks assures.
Students who are Jewish themselves, have Jewish ancestry, are curious about Jewish customs or just want to join are more than welcome to go to their meetings and events. This club is not only accepting of all people but they are looking to develop a positive relationship with the Christian clubs and organizations on campus. Those who are interested in learning more about Hillel’s or the Jewish faith can contact president Steven Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or Vice President Brooke Kibler at email@example.com.