QC’s Hillel given top campus award

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The Philip H. and Susan Rudd Outstanding Campus Award is given out each year at the Hillel International Global Assembly for a chapter that engages students.

Hillel International, the largest Jewish organization connecting Jewish students, gives just one of over 500 worldwide chapters the award. This makes competition stiff.

On Dec. 16, the recipient of the award was the Queens College chapter of Hillel.

QC Hillel’s accomplishments included increased involvement from students and community members. The student-run organization worked with more than one in four, or 1,271 out of over 4,000, Jewish students on campus from 2014 to 2015.

Uri Cohen, executive director of QC Hillel, said the award recognized not only his work, but also of other members like student leaders and staff.

“It’s a tremendous confident boost,” Cohen said. “We know what we’re doing here, and we have a lot to offer that other places can learn from.”

Located at Student Union 206, Hillel includes ethnically and religiously diverse students and staff. Students often speak with staff members about programs and initiatives that interest them.

In addition, Ruben Shimonov, cross-community engagement coordinator for QC Hillel, supervised interactions with different groups on campus like Bukharian, Persian and Moroccan. Currently, there is a Bukharian cultural club and monthly Persian luncheons at QC Hillel.

Cohen explained there is a large Jewish community at QC not found at other campuses. He said the definition of Judaism at QC Hillel is broader than elsewhere.

“We’ve developed micro-communities, and we work with each community as well as gather them as a collective whole,” he said.

Events created through Hillel often are run by students. Yael Kaplan and Eitan Shapiro, both seniors and members of the Hillel student board, agreed that Hillel is great.

“I’ve been here since day one of college,” Shapiro said, “Hillel has events that people come out to and attend.”

Kaplan believed Hillel is important and is comfortable for Jewish students.

“I want people to enjoy Hillel and take advantage of it. I joined Hillel to give my voice so others could give their voices and see what is on campus,” Kaplan said.

Another achievement by QC Hillel is working with other religious groups on the second floor of the Student Union. This includes the Muslim Student Association, located right across the hall from Hillel’s room.

Cohen expressed pride and gratitude for his excellent relationship with MSA.

“It takes two to create a relationship,” Cohen said.

Moreover, Muslim students are seen at Hillel playing ping pong or video games, holding meetings or even attending events. There are also interfaith events and celebrations held between Hillel and MSA.

Cohen believed the organizations contributes to the college’s culture.

“The students involved in Hillel are also involved elsewhere on campus,” Cohen said.

While the award may seem like a victory for Hillel, Cohen said it is a victory for QC as a whole.

“The award is another outstanding achievement for Queens College,” Cohen said.

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