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UC Hillel Students Set Off for Israel Over December Break

UC students will get the experience of a lifetime on a trip to strengthen Jewish identity and build bonds with peers from around the world.

Date: 12/9/2013 11:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Provided by UC Hillel Jewish Student Center

UC ingot   A group of nine students affiliated with UC’s Hillel Jewish Student Center will depart Cincinnati for Israel after finals on a free, 10-day journey to explore their heritage.
UC Hillel Jewish Student Center
UC Hillel Jewish Student Center

The students are taking part in an educational trip funded and organized by Taglit-Birthright Israel, an organization dedicated to building a transformation in contemporary Jewish culture and to building connections between Israelis and their peers in the Diaspora.

The UC Hillel group will be led by Paula Harlan, a program and engagement associate for the UC Hillel Jewish Student Center. The majority of the group will depart Cincinnati on Dec. 17.

“Hillel’s mission is to offer students a broad range of social, cultural, religious and personal growth experiences, in an atmosphere that is creative, energetic, pluralistic and inclusive,” says Harlan. “Participants in Taglit-Birthright Israel come from a wide range of Jewish backgrounds. They travel throughout Israel, exploring their Jewish heritage and building relationships with their Israeli peers.”

Harlan says that UC Hillel is coordinating the trip with Shorashim, a provider that is dedicated to connecting students to Israelis from all backgrounds – encouraging open dialog while exploring Israel and Judaism.

Reuben Moreland, a third-year electronic media major from New York, says he’s looking forward to exploring the culture and geography of Israel. “I’m fairly well traveled because I’m a performer, but I’ve never been to the Middle East, so I’m looking forward to actually seeing the things that I heard about when I was growing up,” says Moreland.

Moreland adds that he has reconnected with his Jewish heritage this year, joining UC’s Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, which was re-established on campus in 2004, and becoming more involved in the Hillel Center. “Hillel introduced me to a lot of people – my social life has changed tremendously this year,” says Moreland. “The Hillel Center’s a great place to go after class or between classes to study and hang out.”

Taglit-Birthright Israel reports that since its inception in 1999, the organization has sent more than 350,000 Jewish young adults to Israel, representing 64 countries and all 50 states in the U.S.

The University of Cincinnati is home to more than 500 student organizations, with interests ranging from academic, athletic, ethnic/cultural, governance, service, honorary, political, professional and more.

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