Major: Architecture studies, Urban Planning
Favorite Jewish food: Definitely bagels and lox
Current jam song: "Work" by Rihanna
Sophomore Jacob Pellegrino mixed his love of the Jewish community with his passion for Israel this year while attending the AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC over spring break with a few other KU Hillel students.
Pellegrino started getting involved in Jayhawks for Israel and AIPAC at KU because he said he thinks having a pro-Israel group on college is necessary to educate students, which is why he also chose to mix his internship with Hillel and AIPAC as an AIPAC rep for Hillel.
“I think a pro-Israel campus is something that is very important,” Pellegrino said. “And it’s not only for pro-Israel, but also to further Hillel’s connection to Israel and everything that encompasses.”
At the conference, Pellegrino said he saw multiple politicians speak about Israel, but one of his favorite parts was how many people who attended had such similar opinions, despite such different backgrounds.
“I thought it was a really amazing experience, I’ve never been with that many people before that all had such similar views even if they’re Jewish, Arab, Christian...really people from all backgrounds,” Pellegrino said. “I really did learn a lot, and all around it was an amazing experience.”
Pellegrino said KU Hillel gives him a similar community, as he said he loves having Hillel and the Jewish community to get away from his everyday life and hang out with Jewish students he doesn’t get see elsewhere.
“I like going to Hillel because it’s kind of a break from my regular day and it just connects me to a different group of people that I connect with in a whole different way,” Pellegrino said.
He said he wants to integrate his work with AIPAC and Hillel because AIPAC provides students with the opportunity to view pro-Israel in their own way and work on student leadership through it.
AIPAC, he said, is good for Jewish students in Hillel because it helps give them a basis for their support of Israel and helps keep them educated about their stance on Israel.
“Not only is [AIPAC] a great thing to do if you’re Jewish, but it’s also a great way to engage people from all different backgrounds and bring them together on one common ideal supporting something we all love,” Pellegrino said.
Pellegrino said he hopes to get more students involved with Jayhawks for Israel and AIPAC on the KU campus and allow students, both in the Jewish community in Hillel and the rest of campus, to learn and give their input on pro-Israel life on campus.
“We’re open to hearing from all different people about how we should move forward and just about how they want to evolve,” Pellegrino said.