Shalom, Geneseo! Hillel Newsletter

Happy First Week of Classes!

In this issue:


  • Shabbat this Week (we will *not* be meeting on zoom tonight!)
  • LGBTQ+ Mixer (tonight!)
  • Video Project Request
  • FYSH (First Year Students of Hillel)

This Week

  • Food Insecurity & Virtual Community Service 2/8
  • Virtual Volunteer and Part-Time / Summer Employment Fair 2/10 @ 2
  • Student Organization Expo 2/10 @ 6
  • Speed Friending 2/10 @ 8
  • The Hair Monologues 2/10
  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg The Rule of Law Compromise in an Age of Polarization 2/11
  • Shabbat 2/12
  • Hillel and Pride Valentine's day collaboration! 2/12


  • Purim

Meet your 2021 Student Leaders — Shira Dubin

Shabbat this Week — Parashat Yitro (Jethro)


Exodus 18:1 - 20:23

In this Torah portion, Moses tells his father-in-law, Jethro, about the miracle of the exodus. Jethro proclaims that the Israelite God is greater than all other gods, and he makes a sacrifice. Jethro then advises Moses to delegate leadership roles in order not to tire himself out. The Israelites camp at the bottom of Mount Sinai. After three days, the mountain fills with smoke, and God delivers the Ten Commandments to His people.

Shabbat Shalom.

It’s good to be back! I know that this past week, for many of us, has been full of stress, whether it was because we moved back to Geneseo and needed to settle in again, or because we had to prepare to come to Geneseo while simultaneously taking Zoom courses. Even still, we made it and I think we are all in need of some self-care time.

This week we read Parashat Yitro. In all honesty, a lot happens in this portion, and I think the most important aspect of it to emphasize is that God gives The Ten Commandments. These are rules that tell Jewish people how they should live.

The Commandments include: 1) You shall have no other gods but me. 2) You shall not make or worship any idols. 3) You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. 4) You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy. 5) Respect your father and mother. 6) You must not murder. 7) You must not take someone else’s husband or wife. 8) You must not steal. 9) You must not lie. 10) You must not be envious.

A specific Commandment that resonates with me specifically at this time in my life is the fourth one, remembering and keeping the Sabbath day holy. While I do remember every week that it is Shabbat (and I very much look forward to it), I think sometimes I fall short on keeping the Sabbath day itself holy. At school especially, I find it difficult to allow myself that time to rest on a Saturday. I feel that if I take a day off to rest, that an entire day’s worth of schoolwork gets piled onto the next, causing a very stressed Leila.

But then I wonder to myself, is there at least something I can do on a Saturday where I can let myself feel like I am observing Shabbat? Can I do a quick prayer? Should I log onto a synagogue’s Zoom? Take a Shabbat walk by myself to reflect? Even if it is not a full day’s worth of rest, I am sure there is at least one thing I can do where I can look back on my Saturday and remember that thing I did to embrace the day of rest.

Starting this Shabbat, I will make it a point to myself to do a special prayer while alone, where I can truly talk and connect to God, reflect on my week, and thank Him for everything I have. I should mention that I do these reflections already, but I notice at college that these moments to myself where I can think and feel spiritual are more inconsistent than I would like. Therefore, I am going to make it a goal on my end to be more consistent. I encourage each of us to find that thing that allows us to embrace Shabbat and to further rest ourselves in some way and rekindle our spiritual selves.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom.

—Leila Sassouni '22

This Week


Meet Your 2021 Student Leaders!

Name and pronouns: Shira Dubin, she/her/hers
Position in Hillel: Jewish Cultural Representative
Major, Minor, and year: Childhood special education with a concentration in urban studies, 2023
Hometown: Manhattan
Favorite Jewish Phrase: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it. -Pirkei Avot 2:16
Why you love Hillel: Coming in as a transfer during COVID, I’m so grateful to have found a family who I can call my own. I’ve been able to ask questions, share my struggles with others who understand, and share my successes too! I love knowing that there are others with similar life experiences that I can call on when I need support and knowing that in turn I can support others at school who may need it as well.

SUNY Geneseo Hillel Student Executive Board

Lara Goodman

Leila Sassouni

Evan Panzer

Claire Shroder

Misha Firstein-Rudder

Rachel Bernheimer

Shira Dubin

Lucas Brenner

Serve the Moment Intern

Jordyn Costello

Student Engagement Interns

Leah Fried

Naomi Seid

Rachel Butchen

SUNY Geneseo Hillel

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