Archive - January 2017

How FTJ Helped Enhance Jewish Cultural Programming

huc-group-photoThanks to Simon Stratford* at HUC-JIR who organized this amazing event, and introduced Fair Trade Judaica to 16 rabbinical students.

In November 2016, a group of fifteen Jewish college students from across the country – and one from Guatemala – arrived on the campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati to celebrate Shabbat and explore Jewish culture. This weekend retreat was just one of many throughout the academic year, hosted by the National Office of Recruitment and Admissions of HUC-JIR. Our high school and college retreats afford Jewish students opportunities to engage with like-minded peers on topics of interest, learn about themselves and from others how Judaism can inform their decisions, all the while creating a welcoming and caring community with whom to celebrate Shabbat. The weekend was a success, and all participants reported having had an excellent time. One facet of the weekend that stuck out to many people, my self included, was the decision to incorporate Fair Trade Judaica into part of our college Retreat, Tapestry of Jewish Culture.

Students had the opportunity to explore the meaning of Jewish culture through the lens of art, music, food, television, humor and Jewish text. Not too long into the first night’s programming did the group realize, that the breadth of Jewish culture is immense. As a result, weekend programming was designed to highlight various forms of Jewish culture and avenues through which students could engage with Jewish culture. Our staff intentionally designed programs to be adopted by student participants and adapted to fit the needs of th