Hillel at CSI Taking Part in Pilot Inclusion Program

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is among seven undergraduate colleges that will be serving as the first cohort of Hillel International’s Ruderman Inclusion Ambassadors. The recent article, “Hillel Internship Promotes Inclusion, Engagement with Students with Disabilities,” on the Hillel International Web site reports that,”Based out of their campus Hillels, each ambassador is creating and implementing programs committed to building campus awareness and developing initiatives to encourage inclusion of students with disabilities in campus Jewish life.”

Read the full story on the Hillel International Web site.



Hillel at CSI Provides Sukkah During Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles

Hillel at the College of Staten Island (CSI) has built a sukkah, a booth, outside of 1C in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Sukkot begins the evening of October 16 and runs through October 23. The campus community is welcome to visit and eat in the sukkah.  A lulav, willow, myrtle and palm branches, and an etrog (citron fruit) will be available there for anyone wishing to make the traditional blessings.

Also, on October 20 at 2:30 PM, Hillel at CSI is hosting ethnomusicologist Gordon Dale, who will present the program “Jewish Mysticism and Music.” The program explores music and kabbalah.



[video] Amy Posner appears on NY1 News

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOURD3SEUsQ[/youtube]Amy Posner, director of Hillel at CSI, discusses the exhibit in the college’s Library that chronicles the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders,” who challenged the mores of a racially segregated society by traveling together in small interracial groups, and sitting where they pleased on buses and trains. The group demanded unrestricted access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms, and were met with bitter racism, mob violence, and imprisonment along the way. But their courage and sacrifice over eight months in 1961 changed the U.S. forever.

This exhibit is proudly sponsored by Hillel at CSI and the Department of the Library in memory of slain CUNY student Andrew Goodman and his friends, Michael Schwerner and James Cheney, all of whom received a posthumous Medal of Honor from President Obama in the fall of 2014.

College Community Marks 11th Anniversary of September 11

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Salvador Mena delivers his remarks at this year's 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony.

Students, faculty, and staff at the College of Staten Island gathered at the 9/11 Memorial on campus last week to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic attacks on our country that took place 11 years ago. 

The event opened with welcoming remarks from CSI Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Salvador Mena, as well as from the College’s Interim President Dr. William J. Fritz. 

Dr. Fritz reminded those in attendance that “Our community was singularly impacted. Staten Island lost more residents than any other borough and the College of Staten Island lost more of its family than any other institution in higher education.” 

Later in his comments, Dr. Fritz stated, “I am reminded of a poet who so eloquently observed that when we look into our sorrowful hearts, in truth we are weeping for which has been our delight. Today, as we have done in past ceremonies, the names of all 27 alumni will be read aloud. As each name is called, I ask you to take a moment to quietly reflect upon all that has been our delight—the goodness, character, spirit, and compassion of each individual who graced our institution and our lives.” 

The program continued with a guitar performance of “El Canto Lladre” by CSI student Stephen Flannery and a reading of the poem “To the Woman, Not Trying to Fly, Who Fell with Her Legs Closed, Arms Pressed against the Front of Her Body, While Primly Clutching Her Purse” by Assistant Professor of English Patricia Smith. 

Next, CSI Psychology major and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Ralph Herrera honored the many volunteers and military personnel who answered the call to provide assistance and response to the attacks. 

In recognition of the students and alumni who died on 9/11, Francisco Collado ’09, member of the CSI Alumni Board of Directors, read their names, and Amy Posner, Executive Director of Hillel at CSI, provided a closing prayer. 

To conclude the event, attendees placed flowers near the 9/11 Memorial in memory of the victims.

Counselors are available to speak with members of the College community in the Counseling Center in Building 1A, Room 109. The Center is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and from 9:00am to 7:30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

JCRC to Host “Faces of Israel”: A Discussion of Israel’s Diversity

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The JCRC will host Faces of Israel on February 29 in the Williamson Theatre.

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) will be hosting a panel discussion about life in Israel and what it means to be Israeli in today’s global climate on Wednesday, February 29 at the CSI Center for the Arts Williamson Theatre from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

The event, entitled, “Faces of Israel,” will include speakers from all walks of life—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, male, female—who will share details about living in Israel and hope to introduce Israel to those who may not be familiar with the Middle Eastern nation. The panelists will speak on the diversity of Israel, dispel any notions many might have about the nation, and enlighten those who are curious about their nation. While their histories and personal experiences are quite different from one another, they share a common bond in making up the State of Israel.

To name just two of the speakers on the panel, Roei Ben Tolila served as an officer in Israel’s elite Maglan unit. After being injured and confined to a wheelchair, he became the founder of the “More than Basketball” project, an educational project where youth, new immigrants, soldiers, and students compete against the BeitHaLochem Jerusalem wheelchair basketball team. Another panelist, Emmanuelle Elbaz, is the foreign news reporter for one of the largest news channels in Israel, Channel 10. Emmanuelle will provide an in-depth view of a reporter in hectic Israel.

CSI President Tomás D. Morales, who recently traveled to Israel with the JCRC, is scheduled to offer welcoming remarks and there will be a question-and-answer period after the panel discussion. “This is an opportunity for Staten Islanders and CSI students to learn about the diversity of Israeli society,” said Amy Posner, Executive Director of Hillel at the College of Staten Island. “It should be an interesting evening of open discussion between people of all faiths and backgrounds.”

The event is free and open to people of all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds who are interested in learning more about Israel.

This is a program of the Israeli Consulate and the Jewish Community Relations Council, sponsored by Hillel at CSI, Inc.

For more information, please contact Amy Posner, Executive Director, Hillel at CSI, Inc. 718.982.3006 amy.posner@csi.cuny.edu.

Roei Ben Tolila
Roei served as an officer in Israel’s elite Maglan unit. He was injured in an offensive attack and is now confined to a wheel chair, however he refuses to let that claim his life. He is the founder of the “More than Basketball” project, an educational project where youth, new immigrants, soldiers, and students compete against the wheelchair basketball team of BeitHaLochem Jerusalem. Roei is also an accomplished and professional life coach, the founder and Chairman of “Salt of the Earth Educational Activity,” a non-profit preparatory course for youth in the periphery, as well as a key member and creator of other established organizations in Israel.
[box]Miri Shalem
Miri is an ultra-orthodox woman from Beit-Shemesh. After incidents of discrimination against women in her city she organized a grand flash-mob event holding 200 women dancing on the street. She brings an energetic and vibrant perspective of the religious world in Israel.
[box]Dan Tiomkin
Dan was born in the Soviet Union, and at the age of 5 immigrated to Israel with his family. At the age of 18 was recruited to the army and served for 5 years after volunteering for officers training. After leaving the army as a lieutenant, he went on a delegation led by the Jewish Agency for Israel to be a counselor in summer camps in the US. On his return Dan started studying for B.A. in Digital Communication & in the Ariel University Center in Samaria. Dan is an expert on digital media and he’s a representative of the new generation of social networking and the New-Media world.
[box]Dina Lakao
Dina served in the Israeli Defense Force as part of the Druze Brigade working on the border with Lebanon. After finishing her service, Dina went to study in university and is currently a third year law and government student as well as a first year Business Law Master’s candidate. Dina has taken her work from the army a step farther by now volunteering for “Tebeka,” a legal aid for the Ethiopian Israeli community as well as having participated with delegations to the United States to help promote a better understanding of Israel.
[box]Shimon-Gal Levy
Shimon grew up overseas as the son of a career diplomat residing in Nepal and Australia from the age of 10-16. Returning to Israel, Shimon finished Secondary School with honors and joined the IDF Navy. Shimon spent the next eight years in the Navy as a graduate of the prestigious Israeli Naval Academy. Since completing his service, Shimon has been active in founding and working in various NGO’s and young leadership programs to better promote Israel Advocacy abroad and young Jewish innovation. Shimon is currently an MA student at the IDC Herzliya International School, majoring in Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution and pursuing his ambition for graduate studies abroad.
[box]Yochai Hadad
Yochai was raised in a family of seven boys.He left his high school yeshiva studies in the tenth grade and in 1998 enrolled in the army. He served for six years in the Shaldag unit as a combatant, commander and combat guide. Later on He studied Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University, with an emphasis on Kaballah studies. As for his artistic passions, He have been writing poetry for the past 18 years, and have been involved in documentary film making for the past five. Two years ago He completed a project he had been working on for two years: A film named “Thou Shall Not Dance” that tells the story of a group of religious men who decide to establish a school for modern dance. Yochai is currently a screenwriting student at the Sam Spiegal Film and Television School and is working on his next project, a documentary TV series on the Yom Kipur War.
[box]Emmanuelle Elbaz
Emmanuelle is the foreign news reporter for one of the largest news channels in Israel, channel 10. She worked as the vice editor of the Jerusalem Post in French. She’s an alumni of Tel-Aviv university, both B.A and M.A specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. She speaks fluent Hebrew, English, and French. Emmanuelle provides an in depth view of a reporter in hectic Israel.

Hillel Breakfast Honors Outgoing President Dr. Steve Acker

Dr. Acker with his children, Lindsay and Jonathan

Hillel at the College of Staten Island held a breakfast celebration at the Richmond County Country Club last month honoring its outgoing President Dr. Steve Acker for his three years of service leading the Hillel Board of Directors.

Dr. Acker is a passionate supporter and mentor of college students on Staten Island. His strong belief that young adults deserve opportunities that broaden their experience and worldview to prepare them to take on the challenges of today’s society has been an inspiration for Hillel at CSI.

During his tenure, Hillel at CSI has grown to include close to 400 students participating in a diverse array of activities including Jewish values-based learning, community service, leadership development, and spiritual growth.

“Dr. Acker has worked diligently to garner financial support for the organization, presiding over successful fundraising events such as a gala dinner, a luxurious yacht cruise, and a premier author book talk and reception,” commented Hillel’s Executive Director Amy Posner. “Hillel at CSI is a vibrant part of the campus community and the Staten Island Jewish community as a whole, thanks to his dynamic leadership.”

Dr. Acker will remain on the Hillel Board, lending his expertise as a member at large. He is succeeded by Mr. Jack Stern, Esq.

For more information about Hillel at CSI, please contact Executive Director Amy Posner at the CSI Multifaith Center, located in the Campus Center (Building 1C) at 718.982.3006.

Hillel Launches Kavod Circle with $10K SI Foundation Matching Grant

L-R: President Morales, Gal Beckerman, Amy Posner, Emma Dukhovny, David Mallach, and Steve Acker
Hillel at the College of Staten Island hosted an elegant cocktail reception and book talk last week at the residence of CSI President Dr. Tomás and Mrs. Evy Morales to launch its new fundraising initiative, The Hillel Kavod Circle of Honor.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

The event was chaired by Mrs. Emma Dukhovny, and was well attended by many leading members of the community.

Mr. David Mallach, Managing Director of the UJA Federation of NY’s Commission on the Jewish People gave introductory remarks.

Author Gal Beckerman discussed his insightful and fascinating book When They Come For Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, a 2011 Jewish Book of the Year.

Amy Posner, Executive Director of Hillel at CSI, commented, “Hillel at CSI’s Kavod Circle is ensuring that the next generation of Staten Island’s young leadership is ready to carry on the work of the community. Based on the teachings of the ancient sage Hillel, we believe that the essence of Torah can be learned while standing on one foot: “Do not do unto others that which is hateful to yourself.” For us, that translates into a life based on the values that make our world a better place.”

“Hillel at CSI sets the standard in opportunities for our students to make a difference through service, leadership, spiritual growth, and strong community,” Posner added. “Hillel students log in significant hours of community service hours; tutoring homeless children, collecting for the food pantry and women’s domestic violence shelter, raising money to sponsor seeing-eye dogs for the blind in Israel. The Hillel Kavod Circle of Honor is an investment in the future. After all, who will take on leadership of our community ten or 20 years from now? And if we don’t teach them now, then when?”

The Staten Island Foundation has challenged Hillel at CSI with a matching grant of $10,000. All of the funds raised at the event have been applied to help match that grant. If you are interested in learning more about Hillel at CSI or in making a gift, please contact Amy Posner at amy.posner@csi.cuny.edu or 718.982.3006.