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Advice from Recent Graduates

Oct 11, 2018

Over 2017-2018 school year, The Oregon Hillel Foundation thrived on both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University campuses. Our annual report illustrates that we helped provide 288 Jewish leadership experiences, 508 matzo ball soups deliveries, 367 Jewish holiday experiences, 79 Israel engagement events or programs, and 1,640 Shabbat dinners served throughout the year. 

One of our organization's main goals is bringing people together, building a community and making friendships. The graduating senior class of 2018 has helped Oregon Hillel grow and become what it is today.  The graduating class of 2018 embodies the successes of these goals, so we interviewed a few of them to see how Jewish life on campus has affected their time at the University of Oregon.

Having been on board as president during the 2016-2017 school year, Jake Monasch has enjoyed the opportunities Hillel has provided him with. “Jewish life has had a major effect on my college life. Being a part of a strong community has helped me stay true to my religious roots as well as having a strong group of friends.”

Elysa Gurman, a current Political Science major and Judaic Studies minor, has also found many of her friends in college through Jewish life. “I always wanted to go to a school that had a strong Jewish community because I knew I would be able to find people there. And I did. Most of my best friends in college I met through Jewish organizations. Most of my Friday nights were spent at a Shabbat dinner. The coolest experiences I have had came to me via Jewish organizations.”

Arianna Shapiro, a Las Vegas native and accounting and economics major, found her closest friends through the Jewish community and was an active participant in several Jewish organizations on campus. “I have also had a lot of my leadership experience through the Jewish community, from Hillel and Akiva board to President of the Jewish Student Union and Director of Consulting for Tamid, a Business group that does Consulting and Investing work with Israeli companies. I have truly found my community at the University of Oregon through the Jewish life on campus and wouldn’t have traded it for anything!”

This class has also had the opportunity to take part in volunteer opportunities which Jake sees as some of his favorite memories through the years. “My favorite event I have attended is Food for Lane County. I have always had a strong connection with community service and that event has furthered my passion for it” says Jake. While others favorite memories are making Jewish holidays come to life on campus. Arianna’s favorite memory is “The Israel Block Party because I put my heart and soul into planning and making that event happen for the first time. I loved seeing all of the different organizations join forces to put on one amazing event that education Jewish and Non-Jewish students about Israeli culture. I hope to see this event live on for years to come!”

Bringing people to Israel is another aspect of Hillel’s mission and Elysa had the opportunity to partake in a Birthright trip a few years ago. “I went on Birthright with Hillel as a freshman in 2014. That was a very transformative experience for me as well. It strengthened my connection to Israel a lot. But the highlights for me were, again, the friendships and connections that I made with people.”


Samantha Katzeff
University of Oregon Class of 2020
Eugene, Oregon


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Oregon Hillel

1059 Hilyard Street
Eugene, OR 97401-3716
(541) 343-8920


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Jewish Federation of Lane County.

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