Our tradition amplifies [Abraham]'s righteousness by teaching that his tent was open on all sides so that he would not miss a single passerby. Following in his steps, the rabbinic sage Hillel was famous for his patience and openness. When a potential convert asked him to describe the essence of the Torah, Hillel did not rebuff him, but responded: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; this is the whole law. All the rest is a commentary."These stories resonate with anyone fortunate enough to be involved with the sage's namesake, Hillel, and to work with college students. Who knows what divine spark may lie within the scruffy kid in the baggy sweatpants? Who knows which words of wisdom will change a life? That's why Hillel's tents are always open.Hillel has spent the last decade-and-a-half grappling with various approaches to welcoming uninvolved Jewish students and to providing resources to Jewish activists. Both Hillel's Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps program and our current Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative emphasize peer engagement. When paired with deeper Jewish exploration through a more senior Jewish educator - helping to find some answers to life's big questions - this method provides a meaningful approach to Jewish identity-building.
Hillel's Open Tent: Not Just Metaphor, but Place for Big Ideas Edgar M Bronfman; Randall Kaplan Jewish Exponent; Dec 31, 2009; 227, 14; Docstoc pg. 13 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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