On Tuesday morning, Dean of Women Diane Philipp ratified the by-laws for Hillsdale Chavarah, the new Jewish organization on campus. After three months, the group is finally official.
Last semester, Freshmen Ayla Meyer, the president, and Kelsey Drapkin, the secretary, envisioned a Jewish organization on campus.
“When I came to Hillsdale, the Judaism aspect was my biggest concern,” Drapkin said.
Nevertheless, she chose Hillsdale for its principles — pursuing truth and defending liberty.
“I figured I could work out the religious stuff.”
Meyer and Drapkin had planned a modest setting in which Jews “could come together and just celebrate.” When other people began to emerge, Meyer said, “we realized we could make this an official organization.”
“When I came to Hillsdale, it only took about two weeks before I began missing my family’s Jewish traditional Shabbat dinners,” sophomore Ben Hindle, the vice president. “So, I thought ‘Why can’t I do that here?’”
While the group exists to promote Judaism, it is open to Christians who want to get involved.
“I am Christian, but my dad’s family is all Jewish,” Newman said. “I really identify with Hillsdale Chavarah. We have a lot in common, and they totally accept me.”
The group has been active since the end of January, with the first Shabbat dinner on February 17.
Hindle said that it took so long because “it’s something very new for Hillsdale College.” He added that college president Larry Arnn wanted “to make sure we get this right the first time,” and to “make sure the by-laws are as correct as possible.”
“Chaplain Beckwith,” he explained, “and the entire administration at Hillsdale has been extremely supportive, and they have pushed us and encouraged us in all the best possible ways.”