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“You had me at Hillel”. A simple play on words. A slogan for a t-shirt. A very true statement for many of KU Hillel’s members. This is true for junior Jonathan Bush.
Jonathan Bush, JB for short, knew he wanted to be a part of Hillel before he was even in college. A person who has always naturally loved being involved with things, this was no surprise to him.
As a high schooler, JB got involved in BBYO, joining the Two’s chapter in Kansas City where his close friend Spencer Green was president. This was how he got to Jewhawk Day. Now known as Hillel on the Hill, Jewhawk Day is a day for potential new KU students to see campus, Hillel, and meet other Jewish teens from their area. Getting his first taste of college, and Hillel, was not enough for JB.
“I was already ready to apply as a junior in high school,” JB said. “I loved KU and I loved Hillel. It was really exciting for me.”
Flash forward to today and JB still talks about Hillel with that same excitement in his eyes.
Sometimes things get hectic for JB. Pursuing a double-major in Math and Physics, he has a lot on his plate. And that’s before you even take into account all his other outside involvement. Being in Delta Upsilon fraternity, conducting National Science Foundation math research, tutoring friends, and participating in Hillel’s Beren NextGen program, to name a few. All this while trying to maintain a social life and get enough sleep each night would be enough for any person. Not for JB.
“Hillel gives me a different perspective on things -- different than anything else I’m involved with."
This year, JB is also part of Hillel’s Strategic Leadership Team. This team works more directly with Hillel’s staff members to make it the best it can be. Although some might get overwhelmed with so many responsibilities, JB doesn’t. While others might resent where they work, JB loves it.
“Hillel gives me a different perspective on things -- different than anything else I’m involved with,” JB said. “It also just makes me feel like I have a second home if I ever get too caught up in my day. In past years, my life has been about frat life and school, but Hillel’s a place where I can go once or twice a week for an hour or even less and just forget about it.”
But it wouldn’t have become home if it weren’t for that first event. If it weren’t for key players. Without that one person who made him feel welcomed and wanted, he might not have come back.
There are a lot of big personalities in Hillel. At any given event, you can find people from every possible social circle at KU. Being able to find your place among so many different Jewish teens is what makes it all worthwhile. Hillel becomes more than just a group on campus. Hillel becomes home.