Every year, KU Hillel strives to create a pipeline of future Jewish leaders and this year even more students are inspired to work for Jewish organizations following graduation.
The desire to work as a Jewish professional comes from a deep-rooted sense of community that is fostered at KU Hillel through leadership development, Jewish learning, immersive experiences in Israel and around the world and community events that allow students to make social connections to each other and to their Jewish community.
“Hillel definitely influenced my decision to pursue this line of work,” said Mackenzie Haun, a recent KU graduate who will be working as an Education Fellow for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. “I have always been very passionate about the Jewish community and helping others connect to their community. Hillel helped me grow and become more confident in my ability to be successful as a Jewish professional.”
“Hillel influenced my interest in the program because at Hillel we talked a lot about Jewish values and how to use those values in non-Jewish settings as well,” Berger said. “I am excited to learn how other young Jewish professionals apply Judaism to their lives and to the social justice work we’ll be doing in the Avodah program.”
In addition to Jewish learning, KU Hillel provides students with opportunities for leadership development and training. The immersive leadership trips to Israel and Eastern Europe through the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and the KU Hillel internships offer students real-world experiences working in the Jewish professional space.
Another Jewish institution to be gaining a new KU graduate this summer is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Greene Family Camp in Texas. McKenzie Sigle will be joining the staff as Associate Director. Sigle held multiple internships at KU Hillel and most recently worked as the Development Admin helping with Rock Chalk Shabbat and donor database management. This internship provided Sigle with hands-on experience that will help her as she steps into a senior role at Greene Family Camp.
Neal Schuster, Rabbi and Senior Jewish Educator at KU Hillel, said that when he looks at how many KU graduates have gone from their involvement in KU Hillel into becoming professionals in Jewish organizations, he feels a great sense of accomplishment.
“We talk about ‘delivering the Jewish future’ at Hillel, and it’s really very satisfying and meaningful to know that it’s not just a tag-line. It’s very real,” Schuster said. “Year after year, we see students who are taking what they’ve learned at KU Hillel – what they’ve learned about Judaism, what they’ve learned about leadership – and making real contributions to Jewish life. And it’s not just this year; it’s year after year. We have this great cohort of KU grads who are out there making their KU Hillel mark on the world.”