Hillel Global Giving Week: #HillelInspires Jake

Jake Shulman, Class of 2020
Political Science & International Relations
Jake is currently the Engagement Associate, the most student-facing role, at Arizona State University Hillel in Phoenix, AZ. Focusing on underclassmen and new students, Jake serves as the point person for students searching for their home-away-from-home while at ASU.

I learned from Tulane Hillel to be myself. I realized very quickly in my job now that being “Jake Shulman” is the best person I can be in any setting, especially in a leadership setting. The Tulane Hillel team encouraged me to inject my personality, my interests, and my passions into our Tulane Jewish Leaders programming, which made my ideas better, our programs better, and I worked more cohesively with my TJL peers when I was not trying to be someone else. Today, I continue to try to bring that authentic Jake energy into my work, and I am happier and more successful because I do so.

Tulane Hillel put the power in my hands. By encouraging us to take the initiative to plan and lead programming, they helped me realize that I have full authority to create the Jewish identity that works for me. During my time at Hillel, I realized that we too often are pushed into a certain box – we are encouraged to practice Judaism in a very specific way, a way that might not be engaging, relatable, or inspiring to us. Hillel helped me understand that we each have the power to connect to Judaism in the ways that work best for us, and that Jewish identity – the unique identity we formulate – is what is most important.

Whether we see it or not, the fact that Hillel is present, available, and open to students of all kinds – that’s what matters. Some students come every day, for the coffee, Rimon, the study space, and the good vibes. Others come once a year. But all of these students find comfort and community, and they know that Hillel is there for them when they need it most. I certainly did. Whether I was having a bad day or my best day, I wanted to be at Hillel because I knew I could find the right person to talk to when I needed them.

I miss Hillel’s inviting space. The openness, the smells of Rimon’s delicious food, the music playing in the background, the natural light coming in through the big windows. It all creates a space conducive to welcoming and building community.

Back to Blog