for co a ie stsulents by college students
OCC now active with Hillel of Metro Detroit.
HCAM retreat generates renewed optimism for smaller
By Daniel Snyder
ne of the major problems with being a college student at a commuter campus is estab-
lishing and maintaining new friendships. During my first two years at Oakland Community
College (OCC), I had a hard time finding Jewish extracurricular activities on and around
campus. There are plenty of Jewish students in the area, but I only found a few successfully while
I am currently a third-year business student at Wayne State University and am taking one class
at OCC. When not studying or waiting tables, I am one of Hillel of Metro Detroit's Peer Network
Engagement Interns (PNEI). My job is to identify uninvolved Jewish students and get them inter-
ested and active in Jewish life. I, along with four other PNEIs, help young adults on the six col-
lege campuses served by Hillel of Metro Detroit network with one another and find their place in
the Jewish community. Campuses include OCC, Oakland University, WSU, University of Michigan-
Dearborn, Lawrence Technological University and University of Detroit Mercy.
During my first semester as an intern, I realized I was really enjoying my experience —
meeting new, uninvolved Jewish students, befriending them and getting them involved in
Jewish life. This had so much of an impact on me I wanted to re-establish the Jewish Student
Organization (JSO) on the OCC in Farmington Hills. With the assistance of Neil Cantor, HMD's
director of Jewish Student Life, and Emily Weitz, program associate, my vision has successfully
turned into a reality, and we have revitalized the presence of Jewish identity on the OCC campus.
Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan retreats draw campus leaders to
share ideas for growth.
With the re-establishment of the JSO at OCC, young Jewish adults will be able to network and
become friends with other Jewish students. They also will have the opportunity to take on lead-
The JSO faculty adviser at OCC is Professor Harvey Bronstein, a teacher in the Accounting,
Business and Law Department and a member of HMD's Advisory Council. He says he is extremely
excited to be the adviser of this organization.
As president of the OCC JSO, I can say we are very ambitious. Our student board is strong:
Emily Hersch, vice president; Chad Rubin, treasurer; and Adam Sherman, secretary. Our goal is
to enhance Jewish life on campus and create a network of Jewish students through social and
The JSO will guide students throughout their Jewish journeys and expose them to Judaism and
the community, while having a great time and making lasting friendships.
For more info or to get involved with the JSO at OCC, contact Dan Snyder at dsnyd91 @gmail.
com . @
Daniel Snyder of Farmington Hills is a third-year business student at Wayne State University and
takes a class at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills.
he excitement and energy could easily be felt at the Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan's
(HCAM) retreat Jan. 6. The retreat brought Hillel board members together from Albion
College, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan
HCAM was established in 2008 and has helped build vibrant Jewish communities at Albion
College, CMU, GVSU, Kalamazoo College and WMU. The retreat, held at the Lester and Jewell Morris
Hillel Jewish Student Center at Michigan State University, provided board members from each
school's Hillel the chance to compare notes and learn from one another.
WMU Hillel President Brittany Karson of West Bloomfield said she learned that recruitment is
instrumental to a striving organization.
"I realized that many of us have similar problems that aren't really problems at all," she said.
"Through discussion we learned from each other's experiences and were able to see what worked
and what didn't."
Because each of the Hillels in HCAM are relatively small, yet growing, recruitment was a major
CMU Hillel Vice President Alyssa Ozrovitz of Oak Park said the main lesson she took from the
retreat was that it's never too late to recruit new members.
"If we have tried to recruit people using one tactic, perhaps try a different one and see if we can
get more members," she said.
Coming to CMU last year, I realized there would not be much of a Jewish population. However,
being president this year has opened my eyes to the surprising number of Jews actually on campus.
With creative resources and unique programming, Jewish students who once thought they would be
escaping Jewish life on campus, find themselves wanting to associate with their Jewish peers more
"At the retreat, I learned that Hillel isn't always about educating others and hosting big events,"
said Tsiporah Davis of Macomb, president of Albion Hillel. "Sometimes Hillel is just a place where a
group of people from similar backgrounds can come and be understood by their fellow Jews."
The retreat allowed various school leaders to meet each other for the first time. Leaving MSU that
day I think we all felt a bond. Even as separate Hillels, we are all united under the HCAM banner.
"HCAM has a unique opportunity to bring Jews together and enhance Jewish life on campuses
that otherwise would lack a strong Jewish community," said GVSU Hillel Treasurer Noah Zucker of
West Bloomfield. "With each university supporting one another, I see each Hillel thriving as an organi-
zation, bringing Jews together in a unique and welcoming environment."
Ozrovitz felt similarly and said before HCAM was around CMU Hillel was a lot smaller. "Using the
alliances we have now, we were able to increase membership drastically," she said.
As I walked out of the MSU Hillel House that day, I had a new sense of optimism that not only
CMU Hillel, but all HCAM Hillels have a bright future ahead. With hard work, dedication, creativity
and unity, Jewish students at HCAM universities will feel the warmth of Hillel and a place to call their
home away from home.
OCC Jewish Student Organization board members: Adam Sherman,
Farmington Hills; Chad Rubin, Walled Lake; and Daniel Snyder,
For more information on the Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan, visit www.h-cam.net . @
Sammy Dubin of West Bloomfield is a sophomore at Central Michigan University and president of
February 16 - 2012