The Mayanot Birthright Israel Program and Tulane University’s Chabad Community, by Samantha Hilsenrod (2/2)

30 Jan

Overseen by Tulane University’s Chabad Jewish community, the Mayanot Birthright Israel Program appealed to me in part because the organizers opt to focus on Israel’s history and modern day culture. Rather than forcing a specific religious perspective on students like myself who enroll in the program, the Chabad strongly encourage all Birthright participants to delve into Jewish spirituality however they see fit. Additionally, the staff directing the Mayanot Birthright Israel Program goes above and beyond when it comes to securing high quality hotel accommodations, also making certain that students partake in the best of Israeli cuisine. Mayanot is a non-profit organization, therefore all funds allotted for the Israel trip go toward creating a superb and unforgettable vacation.

Aside from funding and leading the Mayanot Birthright Israel Program, the Chabad work hard to support the needs of Tulane University’s Jewish population. The linguistic term Chabad is actually an acronym derived from the underlying principles that inform religious faction’s mission. The word Chachmah translates as wisdom, followed by Binah (understanding), and Daas (knowledge). In a nutshell, the Chabad aim to actionably foster Jewish culture in every fashion possible, accomplishing this goal through Friday night Shabbat services and dinners open to all, educational classes held at the school’s Chabad House, celebrations of major Jewish holidays, and social gatherings on campus or out on the town in New Orleans.

About the author:

Presently majoring in Spanish and communications at Tulane University, Samantha Hilsenrod plans to graduate in May of 2012. Over the course of her tenure at Tulane, Ms. Hilsenrod has assisted in establishing the Delta Chapter of Phi Mu, a sorority that channels its resources toward philanthropic endeavors that markedly benefit the local community. Since enrolling at Tulane, Ms. Hilsenrod has raised money for the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Children’s Hospital, New Orleans. Moreover, she volunteers for the Gulf Restoration Network, juggling a busy schedule that requires her to balance a rigorous academic course load with an off-campus job. In her spare time, Samantha Hilsenrod takes movement classes at the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

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