Hillel at Tel Hai College
| May 03, 2018
The Hillel International Student Cabinet is comprised of 17 students from around the world. This is the second year of the cabinet, whose members deal with the organization's goals: 1) To enrich the life of Jewish students on campuses so that they will enrich the lives of other Jews in the world, 2) To build student commitment to Jewish life and to the State of Israel and 3) The cabinet’s primary goal-to cultivate the cabinet so that its students will be the voice of the campuses which they represent.
Talia Ben-Lulu is a student at Tel Hai College, studying Social Education, History and Israel. This is her second year at Hillel Tel Hai, where she serves as the Holiday Coordinator at Hillel and the Israeli representative to the Hillel International Student Cabinet.
During the year, Talia participated in the cabinet's various activities, including monthly Skype meetings concerning the purpose of the Student Cabinet, engaging students to be part of Hillel, budgets, responding to anti-Semitic actions on campuses and more. Also as part of the Cabinet's activities, Talia participated in two seminars held in the United States, where she got to know the members of the Cabinet, was exposed to a wide range of content concerning the Jewish world on campus, and met with various executives and key figures in Hillel.
Talia tells about her experience at the last cabinet seminar at Washington, DC:
“The second cabinet seminar was very interesting, educational and fun. We discussed the cabinet's goals, how well-attuned we were to them, what we have achieved and what there is left to do. We also met with members of the Board of Directors of Hillel, Estee Portnoy and David Yaffe, who spoke about their careers and their Jewish involvement. We got to know each other in depth and were exposed to the "Jewish world" of each representative, starting from his childhood.
During the seminar we were privileged to take part in one-on-one meetings with professionals at Hillel International. I had a lunch meeting with Michelle Rojas-Tal, the central Hillel International Shlicha and the Director of the Israel Fellows Program, who works in over 100 Hillels on campuses in North America. Michelle shared with me that she went on Birthright and it was there that she opened up to the Jewish world. Eventually she maid aliya and married an Israeli, and today she's on shlichut (as an emissary) from the Jewish Agency. The conversation with Michelle was fascinating; I enjoyed getting to know her and hearing about her life story, her aliya and her different views about Jewish tradition, life in Israel and Jewish life abroad. We also talked about the Cabinet, the shlichut program and the challenges of going on shlicut, which also bring lots of satisfaction.
My roommate at the seminar was Alyssa from Hillel Germany. We found that we had a lot in common: our love of Israel, our shared desire to live in Israel and also being that we were the only non-American students present- we bonded.
Because I am not an American student, it was important to me to talk about the fact that Hillel is an international student organization, yet often it feels like it is only a statement and I tried to promote discussions on the matter.
The Cabinet was a unique opportunity for me to get to know the Jewish world outside of Israel and the challenges that Jewish students deal with on campuses and in their lives and from that, to connect Israeli students to Hillel in Israel and to deepen their connection to the Jewish People. I feel that I now know what Jewish Peoplehood is and I understand what is at the core of it. And that strengthens both my Jewish experience and my Israeli identity.”
Talia and some of her friends from the International student cabinet 2017-2018