High Point University

Highlighting Jewish life: Hillel

Every Friday at sundown, Hillel hosts a Shabbat dinner to celebrate the Jewish day of rest. It traditionally begins with three blessings over candles, wine and challah, a type of braided bread. Dinner follows the blessings, and the celebration ends on Saturdays at nightfall. Usually, Hillel hosts Shabbat dinners indoors, but COVID-19 regulations have prompted the organization to host dinners outside. They offer many pre-packaged food options to maintain health safety. The organization also celebrates other major holidays, including Hanukkah, Passover and Rosh Hashana. Pictured are Hillel’s Religious Chair Julia Staffin (left) and Treasurer Colby Treschl (right) lighting the Shabbat candles at sundown. Photo by Jordyn Fells


“Hillel is a student organization dedicated to providing opportunities for students to build a Jewish Life at High Point University,” said Vice President and Historian Jordyn Fells. “Students participate in social and religious activities with other Jewish students on campus and through[out] the region.” One of these activities is The Daffodil Project, an annual service event in which students plant daffodils in memory of children who lost their lives in the Holocaust. “The shape and color of the daffodils represent the yellow stars that the Jews were forced to wear,” said Fells. “Yellow is the color of remembrance and daffodils, representing our hope for the future.” Photo by Jordyn Fells

The organization has hosted a number of events this year. They decorated mezuzahs, small scrolls of parchment with two biblical passages written on each that are meant to hang on entrance doorposts of Jewish homes. They built candy Sukkahs for Sukkot, a holiday that celebrates the harvest and remembers the 40 years when the Israelites wandered the desert after being freed from slavery. “Sukkahs were the names of the temporary dwellings the Jews lived in before they reached the Promised Land, Israel,” Fells said. Pictured is another event in which students tie-dyed custom Hillel shirts that read “High Point University” in Hebrew. Photo by Jordyn Fells


“At High Point University Hillel, we aim to educate the community about Jewish traditions through religious practice and shared cultural experiences,” said Fells. “We remember our past while continuing to build a more inclusive, colorful and cohesive environment on campus.” Hillel partners with the Office of Jewish Life to host speakers and various events. In 2019, one of these events involved International Holocaust Remembrance Day to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. Hillel hosted Holocaust survivor Hank Brodt, (1925-2020), who resided in the city of High Point and came to campus to share his experience with finding inner strength and hope through the suffering of loss. Those who are interested in Hillel’s future events can follow their Instagram, @hpuhillel. Photo by Lee Adams