It is no secret that Queens College has an abundance of Jewish full-time students. Typically found in the Hillel Center, the Chabad house only two minutes away from campus or in the Small Dining Hall, there are countless organizations serving the Jewish community here on campus. Some of these Jewish students come together once a week as part of the Mizrahi LEAD program.
Manashe Khaimov, the current “Director of Community Organizing and Development of Queens College Hillel” as well as the founder of at QC, explained, “Mizrahi LEAD’s (Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Development) goal is to cultivate and nurture Mizrahi Jewish students, who are committed to the Jewish community on the college campus and beyond while building their social capacity and careers.”
In addition, Mizrahi LEAD enables Mizrahi Jewish students to explore their common history, Jewish identity, examine styles of leadership and community organizing while participate in a one of a kind Jewish philanthropy project. “By the end of the year, participants will have learned about varying leadership styles and ideas, and ultimately discover their own path to leadership. This program is for entrepreneurial-centric, eager to connect with like-minded students, and excited to network with professionals of major corporations.”
The idea for the fundraiser came from what the group had been working on throughout the semester. For the first time since their foundation, the students held a fundraiser with the aspiration to raise $2000. Campaigning both in person and online, the group reached out to all sorts of people; their relatives, their peers and even random strangers via social media. Ultimately their efforts paid off, as they managed to go beyond surpassing their goal, all while demonstrating the drive and determination that success constantly demands.
Manashe is proud to announce that “the first peer to peer fundraising for the Mizrahi Community at Queens College” has raised $2359. “I am really proud of the group, they did an amazing job pulling this fundraiser off” he exclaimed. “Throughout the campaign, I didn’t have [any] doubts that they [would] reach the goal!”. The crowning achievement, Manashe continued, was when QC Hillel’s President, Hillel Wallick, was brought to the stage and given the giant check, “…as a symbol of appreciation that the board [continues to] strategically and purposefully investing in every Jewish student on campus!”
Combining culture with business, Mizrahi LEAD aims to help its students navigate their way into the real world while clinging to their roots. The speakers that the students met with ranged from, but were not limited to, “Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods to Melissa Ben-Ishay, Co-Founder of Baked by Melissa, and even to Yair Goldfinger, Co-Founder, and CEO of APPCard.” In addition, last month the group visited Linkedin and learn about the best practices on how to be marketable on social media. “Mizrahi LEAD could be a new way to engage business oriented students with Hillels’ on campuses” said Khaimov.
Sponsored by the Itzkhak Mavashev Foundation, Genesis Philanthropy Group, and Sepharadic Heritage Alliance Inc., all Queens College students are invited to apply for Mizrahi LEAD, where there will be an interview and, upon acceptance, a mandatory attendance rate of at least 80%, although participants generally attend 100% of the time. To learn more information, Manashe and the other Mizrahi LEAD members can usually be found in the Hillel.