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Colorado State University Hillel

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Colorado State University Hillel offers weekly shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, campus wide events, Birthright trips to Israel, leadership opportunities and more! Our Merage Hillel House has WiFi, Wii + Netflix, study places, and separate meat/dairy kitchens for a delicious kosher meal!

Colorado State University Hillel also offers many ways for students to develop their leadership skills and to engage the campus community. Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to get involved, to impact and shape the Jewish community for each other and their peers. Get in touch to learn more about how to make a Jewish home for students on campus, or check out our internship program.

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CSU Hillel Blog

  • President Hillary: A Leader in CSU’s Jewish Community (2/16/2017)

    Hillary Lorsch in NatureBeing a leader in the Jewish community is not unusual for Hillary Lorsch. 

    Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, Hillary was part of both Northern Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) and Beth Israel Temple Youth (BITY), which was her synagogue’s youth group, for all four years of her high school.  For NFTY, Hillary was a historian.  She took pictures at all of the events and put together a yearbook at the end of each year, and made slide shows from previous events to show at upcoming events.  In BITY, she was a board member and participant before she became president her senior year. 

    Hillary knew she wanted to go to CSU when she came to visit the campus.  When she visited, she saw the Vietnam Memorial bridge on campus and imagined the bridge during all of the seasons and it clicked for her. “I was like, ‘Oh, I imagine myself here for four seasons,’” said Hillary. 

    Girls sitting in a sukkah
    A Night in the Sukkah-Left to Right: Ruthie Gerts, Shayna Keese, Briana Davine, Sadye Hazan, Hillary Lorsch

    That visit put Colorado State at the top of her list, but she wanted to know more about CSU’s Hillel. “In Arizona, everyone goes to Hillel or Chabad, so it was common sense and an instinct that when you go to college and you’re Jewish, you go to one of those organizations,” she said.  She messaged the Hillels at all of the schools that she was interested in and asked them how their programs were.  “CSU was one of the better Hillels that I had talked to.”

    Hillary immediately joined the leadership team her freshman year.  She said that she enjoys programming and being able to give people a home.  “I know for a lot of people in high school either struggled with people understanding who they were and being able to take a weekend off and coming to a NFTY event really changed their lives and possibly saved a lot of people’s lives just because they had somewhere to go,” Hillary explained. “I wanted to make sure that in a school as big as CSU, I could give someone a home.”

    In her first year, Hillary started a tradition.  At a meeting, the leadership team had been talking about hosting a “Thanksgivakkah” dinner, since Thanksgiving and the start of Chanukkah were on the same night that year for the first time since the 1800s.  It was Hillary’s idea to turn it into an Interfaith Thanksgiving and invite many different faith organizations on campus.  She got the idea from Rabbi Albert Plotkin, a very well-known Rabbi in Arizona, who is an inspiration to her, as well as a “birthday buddy” since they share the same birthday.  “Except that he was like 80 years older than me,” Hillary said with a little laugh.

    Handprints on a Rams for Peace sign with Israa Eldeiry and Hillary Lorsch
    Rams for Peace- Left: Israa Eldeiry, Right: Hillary Lorsch

    Hillary explained that Rabbi Plotkin was the first Jew to go to the University of Notre Dame and when he moved to Arizona, he started an interfaith movement.  She said he became very well known by many people of all faiths.  “He was someone who was accepting of all and a beautiful human being.  He inspired me to learn before talking to someone and not just assume something about them because of their religion,” said Hillary. “He was like Yoda.”

    It was Rabbi Plotkin who inspired Hillary to start Interfaith Thanksgiving, which so far, is one of her favorite memories in Hillel.  During the first Interfaith Thanksgiving in 2014, over 100 people crammed into the small Hillel house.  “It was incredible. We expected maybe 10 people to come and it was over 100 people all of a sudden,” exclaimed Hillary. “It was snowing and people still showed up.” Interfaith Thanksgiving has now been celebrated for three years.

    Hillary’s first turkey- Interfaith Thanksgiving 2016

    Now Hillary is “kind of a junior,” as she puts it, since she will be graduating in the fall of 2017.  She is majoring in journalism and minoring in business.  She is also Hillel’s president. 

    Hillary wanted to become president because she understood that people can sometimes be leaders, but not want to take responsibility when things go wrong.  “I think I can handle when things go wrong,” stated Hillary.  “I’m happy to be the person that people need to take their anger out on and be the person that people need to talk to.”

    Not only does Hillary want to lead Hillel, she wants to help people succeed in what they want to do.  She said, “If they have a passion for sustainability or interfaith, I want to make sure that I can give them the platform to do that and stand behind them when they finally take that leap to do that.”

    Hillel's Fall 2016 Leadership Team
    Hillel’s Fall 2016 Leadership Team

    For Hillel’s future, Hillary said she hopes it will be filled with lots of people.  She doesn’t want Hillel to just be a place where people go and eat dinner on Friday nights, but a place people can also hang out.  She wants people to say, “Oh my friend likes to go cook there on Monday nights so we go there on Monday nights.”  She wants it to be a place where people can go drink hot chocolate and watch a movie with their friends when it’s cold outside. 

    “People shouldn’t have to think of it only in a religious aspect,” Hillary explained.  “They should think about it in a more familiar and open place for them to always be able to go.”

Recent Photos

Hillel CSU Student Leadership Team

Hillel-CSU-Student-Leadership-Team

The Student Leadership Team is the core group of leaders creating a Jewish home on campus, and these students gain valuable Jewish and professional knowledge, skills, and experience. Their involvement is critical in defining Jewish programming and engagement on campus each semester.

Hillary Lorsch

President

Hillary is a junior here at CSU studying Journalism with a minor in Business Administration. We asked Hillary what she was most excited about for Hillel this year: "I'm really excited to cook for Shabbat because nothing gives me more joy than after hours of cooking seeing a room full of people relaxing and laughing over a home cooked meal."

Zack Josephs

Leadership Team

Zack is a senior with a Political Science and Philosophy double major and a minor in English. We asked Zack how Hillel has impacted his life: "Hillel has made me more conscious of inclusivity, brought me close to a lot of great people, and has positively affected my ability to time manage and make sacrifices for others."

Ruthie Gertz

House Manager

Ruthie is a pre-vet equine science major in her senior year here at CSU. We asked Ruthie what her favorite thing is about Hillel: "Hillel is like my home away from home because I know wherever I go I'll meet great people and have fun. And there's always food, which is really great!"

Sadye Hazan

Leadership Team

Sadye is a senior journalism major with a minor in ethnic studies. We asked Sadye what her favorite thing is about being a part of Hillel: "I really like being part of Hillel because all of my friends are in Hillel, so events are super fun to go to. I also just love being in the Hillel house, even when we don't have events because there's Netflix and a bunch of food so it's always a good time."

Nevan Mandel

Leadership Team

Nevan is a third year environmental policy major. We asked him what his favorite thing is about being a part of Hillel: "My favorite thing about Hillel is working with Hazon to make our Hillel green and sustainable."

Sam Roll

House Manager

Sam is a sophomore studying criminology and philosophy. We asked Sam what he wants to accomplish at Hillel: "I hope to start a tradition at Hillel."

Emma Shear

House Manager

Emma is a sophomore Human Development & Family Studies major. We asked Emma what she likes most about being a part of Hillel: "I get to be myself and help maintain my Jewish identity."

Aliya Gorelick

Emerson Fellow & Leadership Team

Aliya is a sophomore psychology major. We asked Aliya what Hillel means to her: "Being a part of Hillel lets me hang out with cool Jews and have a community away from home."

Elaine Gay

Marketing Coordinator

Rose Bork

Leadership Team

Aviva Lessnick

Leadership Team

Alicia Bridges

Leadership Team