Director’s Message: Hillel: now more than Ever!

Shalom to our Hillel students, parents, and supporters!

While our Hillel Colorado Houses are still partially closed, and fall return-to-college is still uncertain, Hillel continues to provide critical Jewish lifelines and online programming for our 2,000+ metro-Denver and northern Colorado Jewish students – both those still in-state and those back at their family homes.

Hillel of Colorado staff and student leaders have been busy assuring that all immediate student needs are being met (food, housing, referrals for medical and emotional support, etc.); reaching out to all our students by phone and social media; providing weekly Shabbat food kits, Zoom Shabbat events and networking; and connecting students with numerous Hillel learning and socializing opportunities. In many ways we are more needed and busier than ever! You may have noticed our new, temporary tag line: Now facilitating social closer-ing through creative online together-ing.

Please click on one of our Campus Web Pages to see some of the many activities happening weekly, to kvell at student comments, to enjoy the photos online, in our Facebook and Instagram posts. A silver lining of Covid19 has been to reinforce what we have known all along to be true: college students need each other in order to become adult mensches, and Hillel is by far the very best Jewish connector we have.

Please call or email one of us with any thoughts or questions. Stay safe!
Daniel W. Bennett
Hillel of Colorado Executive Director
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FYI, our Hillel Houses have posted to their doors these words:

Protocols in the Age of Covid19
May 2020

Welcome to our Hillel, an inclusive community where all students are welcome to enjoy our space, share in our fellowship, and attend our programs. The safety and well-being of our participants is always our primary concern, so please follow these health and safety protocols carefully. We expect you to comply with city and state directives in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to protect yourselves and others.

Hillel is here to serve you. Our university announced that all spring quarter classes will be held online. We all need to be vigilant in limiting the spread of germs in light of Coronavirus awareness, and at the same time Hillel is committed to ensuring that we remain a supportive, safe and welcoming community for those still on campus and for those who have returned to family homes.

The Hillel House will continue to comply with Governor Polis’s executive orders. You may enter if you are a student needing food or you have urgent business matters that cannot be handled remotely.

Hillel programming has been modified. Our staff and student leaders have been busy reaching out to students, assisting students to support each other and creating original, weekly online programming. Please visit our web site (www.hillelcolorado.org), find our social media content online, or contact one of us:

• Noam Dahary, University of Denver Hillel Campus Director, 720.434.1131
• Mariah DeGear, Colorado State University Hillel Campus Director, 970.519.1925
• Daniel W. Bennett, Hillel of Colorado Executive Director, 303.818.8207

Building Protocols for All

General
• We will be here to collect mail and handle urgent business matters than cannot be done remotely.
• Students who are hungry will find food in the downstairs kitchen and food pantry.
• Otherwise, this facility is closed except for urgent matters.
• Under no circumstances may you enter the building if you are ill or have respiratory distress symptoms.

If you do enter, while you are here:
• Upon entering, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Then do so often thereafter.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm or elbow when you cough or sneeze.
• Use disinfectant wipes & gloves (provided) OFTEN to help us keep surfaces, doorknobs, counters, and restrooms cleaned and renewed; don’t wait to be asked to help!
• Be sure to observe social distancing requirements: stay at least 6 feet away from anyone else in the building.
• Refrain from kissing mezuzot, siddurim, chumashim, or our Torah scroll.

Most of us have never experienced anything like this Coronavirus outbreak and its disruptive nature. Our Jewish tradition teaches us to be thoughtful, resourceful, and calm in the face of challenges both small and great. Our Jewish sources provide a template for all of us, teaching us how to rely on each other, lead with kindness – and serve each other, our community, and the wider community with skill and patience during challenging times. Please contact Hillel staff and student leaders to get involved at this extraordinary time in the life of our planet, to access online local and national Hillel resources, to help you process your thoughts & feelings, and to find a little extra support.