Hillel Rhodes College

“Considering how Jewish life in college begins long before a student steps foot on their college campus, I believe that it’s important for high school students to understand the Jewish landscape that awaits them after they graduate high school,” said Sophie Bloch, the Director of Hillels of Memphis. “College is the first time many Jewish teens explore Jewish identity on their own terms, so it’s important that they feel empowered to do so, and understand the role Hillel can play in helping them along their journey.”

Sophie was the featured guest teacher for a group of 8th-12th graders at Temple Israel’s High School program in mid-October. She led the students through discussions centered on college and Jewish identity, and engaged them with interactive exercises designed to bring the topics to life.

“I talked with the students about opportunities that college experience provides to explore identity and discover what Judaism means to them,” she said. “We talked about how religion and culture are experienced differently by every individual, and how finding what means the most to them may be the best place to start. We also talked about Israel and the complexities that having a relationship with the country can have on the campus experience. I wanted them to know a bit about what to expect as they embark on this thrilling but intimidating stage of life, and remind them that a Hillel can be an incredible campus resource, helping Jewish students explore their Judaism and connect with peers in a similar situation as themselves.”

“For most students, the transition from high school to college is as stressful as it is exciting. Having Sophie from Hillels of Memphis speak to the Temple Israel High Schoolers about how Hillel is dedicated to enriching their college experience through Judaism was priceless as they consider their college choices,” said Temple Israel’s Rabbi Jeff Dreifus. “Additionally, I loved her empowering message about using their new autonomy in college to be purposeful about their Judaism by reimagining how they connect and create community with people from cities from all across the country. Everyone appreciated Sophie’s insight.”

After Sophie’s lecture, the students made “life maps,” charting significant milestones, places, and people in their lives from birth to present day. They analyzed the items on their lists that were related to their Judaism, from their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, to Jewish summer camp experiences, to relationships with their grandparents. The exercise was designed to help students realize that many cherished memories are rooted in their Jewish experiences.

After other hands-on workshops, the conversation turned back to Israel.

“I wanted them to understand how Israel and Zionism factors in to Jewish identity, and how the teens could potentially navigate uncomfortable topics that they might encounter on campus around the subject of Israel, like the BDS movement and Antisemitism,” Sophie described.

The course ended with a segment exploring the online Hillel College Guide and Jewish Scholarship portal.

Through showing the teens the resources available to them, the students ultimately left the class with a better understanding of Judaism, what their religion personally means to them, how to respond to others’ negativity regarding Israel, and where to find helpful resources both at their college campus and online.

“This is one of the many examples of how Hillels of Memphis is a resource in the local Memphis Jewish community, even for teens just beginning to think about life beyond middle and high school, and what to look forward to when experiencing Jewish life in college,” said Sophie.

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Season 3 of the Hillels of Memphis On One Foot: Jewish Faculty Lecture Series kicks off tomorrow, Friday, September 24, and features a new group of Jewish academics from Rhodes College and the University of Memphis. Lectures this season will be featured every second or third Friday of each month, starting with Dr. Shaul Bar, Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Memphis. Hillels of Memphis is a program of Memphis Jewish Federation, which is operated by Jewish Community Partners.

“This is the first time, in all these years, that I have seen the Director of Hillel reaching out and getting teachers involved,” said Harry Samuels, a past President of Memphis Jewish Federation who was instrumental in establishing the first Memphis Hillel as a student at then Memphis State University, and who has remained involved with the program for more than 60 years. “It’s a wonderful thing that she’s done, because involvement is very important in any Hillel. If you can get the Jewish professors involved, it really means something to the students, aside from the benefit of the lectures themselves. I am very supportive of what she has done and I compliment her on her involvement.”

“I’m incredibly excited to continue the Hillels of Memphis Jewish Faculty Lecture Series for another season because it was so popular and well-received last year, not only by the people who attended, but also the lecturers,” said Sophie Bloch, Director of Hillels of Memphis. “My hope and goal for On One Foot is that everyone leaves feeling more connected to the larger Memphis Jewish community and to Hillel as a result of this collaboration.”

“This initiative was created during COVID when there were little to no in-person events happening in the Memphis Jewish community,” said Sophie. “It was also created when we were trying to leverage virtual programming to engage with the community. Despite more events currently happening in-person, we wanted to continue with this initiative because of the great feedback we’ve gotten so far.”

Season 3’s topics are as diverse as the lecturers, whose expertise in history, mathematics, philosophy, cybersecurity, mechanical engineering, and communications will bring the episodes to life. Viewers can look forward to hearing from Jewish professors who have joined their faculties within the past year, with many topics related to current events and issues affecting our daily lives.

“Hillel’s On One Foot Faculty Lecture Series is a wonderful example of the long and proud tradition of Jewish intellectual engagement,” said Professor Eric Gottlieb, a Season 3 lecturer and Rhodes College Math Professor. “It’s an honor to have been asked to contribute. I look forward to a lively exchange about mathematics, and Jewish involvement in mathematics, with participating community members.”

Each hour-long lecture starts at noon, with time included for group discussion. The series is designed for any community member interested in learning and is open to everyone.

“The Faculty Lecture Series is a rare Hillel program that isn’t specifically student-focused. We intentionally created it as a community-focused program for anyone with a student’s curiosity,” said Sophie. “Any adult community member will find the topics intellectually stimulating, and the sessions also give students the opportunity to learn from professors outside of their major or department, and possibly outside of their school as well.”

The sessions are open to the public, but viewers must register in advance. Click here to learn more and register. The lectures will be recorded and posted on the same webpage. Viewers can catch up with the first two seasons now, and watch upcoming lectures the week after their live debut.

“I’m hoping that viewers leave with a sense of connection to the Jewish academic talent at our local institutions, and a renewed perspective of how our religion ties into more topics than we may realize,” said Sophie.

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By Sophie Bloch, Director of Hillels of Memphis

Over these last few months, I have often thought back to my own college experience and what it would have felt like to be starting a new school year during a pandemic. I studied dance and theater, so time and time again I came back to the age-old adage that “the show must go on.” And go on, it did! In spite of physical distancing and students scattered around the country, we were still able to honor the essence of what makes Hillel.

After an incredible pilot Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) series in the spring, twenty students participated in JLF this semester. Because JLF was virtual this semester, we were able to combine students from Rhodes College and University of Memphis into one cohort to learn together. The pandemic has put many other quintessential college activities on pause, which has left more availability for more people to participate in Jewish learning; many of the students taking advantage of virtual JLF this semester otherwise wouldn’t have been able to participate due to their class schedule, athletics, or work obligations.

We also launched a virtual learning series with Jewish faculty from Memphis universities to spotlight the incredible Jewish intellectual talent we have here in Memphis for the entire Memphis Jewish community to enjoy. Named “On One Foot” in honor of the parable about Hillel the Elder teaching a student the “entire Torah while standing on one foot: treat others how you’d like to be treated,” each program in the series features a Jewish academic speaking on their area of expertise. Each lecture was recorded and archived on the Hillel website so future learners can enjoy the lectures as well.

(Above) Professor Victor Coonin, Professor of Art and Art History at Rhodes College, spoke about “Michelangelo, Moses, and Black Lives Matter” to discover what Michelangelo’s depictions of Moses can teach us about contextualizing problematic statues from the Civil War era.

Crisis calls for Jews to step up, which is something eight Hillel student interns learned this semester during a new Fundraising and Development Internship in partnership with Memphis Jewish Federation. Students learned about the Jewish values of philanthropy as well as valuable communication skills for fundraising that will translate to any future career, all while having the opportunity to get paid for remote work. The students in this leadership role set the tone for meaningful involvement in Hillel and Jewish communal life for their peers, all while Memphis Jewish Federation got support from students in securing pledges for its Annual Community Campaign.

Even though classes were virtual this semester, many students were living in Memphis either with their families or in their off-campus apartments. Because of this, we hosted small outdoor socially distant Shabbat dinner celebrations at the Morris S. Fogelman Jewish Student Center at University of Memphis. In-town students from both campuses came together to safely celebrate Shabbat and holidays together, providing a much-needed opportunity for connection and spirituality.

The semester wouldn’t have been complete without Hillel swag- and the best part about Hillel swag is that it travels! Without the usual milestones to mark time, we benchmarked the semester with care packages that were either mailed or hand-delivered to students in honor of the start of the semester, Rosh Hashanah, and finals week. As a result of receiving care packages throughout the semester, students felt included in the Hillels of Memphis community no matter where they were spending their semester.

Whether it was through remote learning opportunities, leadership development, outdoor Shabbat and holiday celebrations, or receiving goodies in the mail, Hillel students brought their best selves forward. We have so much to learn from the compassion, dedication, and resilience of our young adult community, and now more than ever I am confident that the future of the Jewish people will thrive in their hands.

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Thank you for your unwavering support

Dear Hillels of Memphis supporters,

We hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy. As you know, we had planned for the theme of this year’s Yiddishe Cup to be “My Hillel Story” to highlight the important role Hillel has played in developing Jewish leaders, role models and philanthropists in the Memphis Jewish community.

While we always anticipate the possibility of rain at the event, we could have never anticipated the current health crisis we are facing. As difficult as this time has been for all of us, it is surely a moment in our Hillel Story that we will never forget as the leaders of tomorrow – our current college students, whom you generously support – are shaped by the example of resilience and dedication they are witnessing from around the Memphis Jewish Community. While many Hillels around the world are suffering as a result of this crisis, Hillels of Memphis is securely positioned to carry on fueling Jewish life on campus, both physically and virtually.

Even though we were unable to hold the Yiddishe Cup in person this year, your generous support will still benefit Hillels of Memphis.

Proceeds from the Yiddishe Cup – Hillels of Memphis’s primary fundraiser – benefit students at University of Memphis and Rhodes College through educational programs, social events, Shabbat meals and much more. While we won’t be able to celebrate the successes of Hillel together in person this year, we are honored to have your unwavering generosity during a time when students most need to feel supported.

Thank you!

Sophie Bloch – Director, Hillels of Memphis

Carolyn Schrier- Yiddishe Cup Co-Chair

Daniel Snyder- Yiddishe Cup Co-Chair

Wendy Rotter- Advisory Board Chair, Rhodes Hillel

Hal Fogelman- Advisory Board Chair, U of M Hillel

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It’s time to polish up on your putt-putt skills for Hillels of Memphis Annual Yiddishe Cup Mini Golf Tournament. Enjoyed by people of all ages, this year’s challenge will be held on Sunday, April 26, at 2 p.m. at Golf & Games located at 5484 Summer Avenue.

Rain or shine, activities within the facility will be available if rain prohibits putt-putt.

The theme, “My Hillel Story,” will celebrate the important role Hillel has played in developing Jewish leaders, role models, and philanthropists in the Memphis Jewish community. Memphians are encouraged to submit their Hillel story to be highlighted in promotional materials leading up to the event and at the tournament.

Hillels of Memphis is operated by Jewish Community Partners, whose President CEO Laura Linder, was the fist to submit her Hillel Story. She writes:

“If it weren’t for my involvement in Hillel as a student at Indiana University, I would not be sitting in the seat I’m in today!  During my sophomore year I was asked by a friend to serve as a co-chair of the UJA Student campaign at IU which was a committee of Hillel.  ‘All you have to do is make a few phone calls and speak at a few events,’ is how she first presented it to me.  But it was the opportunity to participate in a national leadership conference and go on a free trip to Israel that initially inspired me to accept the challenge! Hillel at IU was well organized and attracted a diverse group of students. I ended up spending a lot of time there during college. When my grandmother died suddenly during my junior year, my ‘Hillel family’ was very supportive and comforting. I remember being at services on a Friday night, I wanted to say Kaddish for her and I was really struggling.  Someone put their arm around me and we stood together. From that moment on I realized that Hillel is more than a place, it’s a Jewish community, it was MY Jewish community, and there for me at a time when I really needed it.”

You can share your story in an email to Hillels of Memphis Director Sophie Bloch.

Yiddishe Cup co-chairs Daniel Snyder and Carolyn Schrier, in cooperation with the University of Memphis Advisory Council, chaired by Hal Fogelman, and the Rhodes College Advisory Council, chaired by Wendy Rotter, are excited about instilling a meaningful theme for the event.

“Students from both schools will also play an integral role in planning and organizing the event,” said Hillels of Memphis Director Sophie Bloch.

“College is a time where young adults start to figure out who they are, and who they want to be,” said Carolyn. “Hillel provides positive opportunities for these students to make Judaism part of that journey. Supporting Hillel through an event such as the Yiddishe Cup lets students of both campuses know that they don’t exist in a vacuum. Our broader community is proud to have students in their midst, wants to be looked upon for resources, and hopes that upon graduation, students will elect to stay in Memphis, and grow their overall involvement in the city.”

There are multiple ways to participate in the Yiddishe Cup Mini Golf Tournament. So gather your family and friends to: form a team of four at $36; become a sponsor at multiple levels, beginning at $118; and share your Hillel story. Teams will have the opportunity to win special prizes for a hole-in-one and other categories.

The Yiddishe Cup serves as the primary community fundraiser for Hillels of Memphis. Both Hillels serve as a home away from home for Jewish students. All proceeds from the event benefit students on both campuses through educational programming, social events, Shabbat meals and communal programming and events throughout the year. Eighty-five percent of Hillel’s operating budget is funded through a generous endowment. The remaining 15% comes primarily from funds raised through the Yiddishe Cup fundraiser.

The event is open to people of all ages and makes for a great family outing.

Registration, sponsorships, detailed information about the event, and how to tell your “Hillel Story,” may be found at www.hillelsofmemphis.org/yiddishecup.

You may also contact Hillel Executive Director Sophie Bloch at 901.452.2453 or email sophiebloch@hillelsofmemphis.org.

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By Sophie Bloch, Director, Hillels of Memphis

Above: University of Memphis students Niki Schienberg, Gila Karasik, Eli Apel, and Jessica Breining gather for an end of semester Hanukkah lunch at the Morris S. Fogelman Hillel building near the University of Memphis campus.

I often joke that my job as the Director of Hillels of Memphis centers around feeding and caffeinating ravenous college students. On one hand, the work of Hillel does indeed fall back on the incredibly reliable Jewish tradition of coming together as a community around a delicious meal – there are few experiences in life as profoundly gratifying as providing a hot, home cooked meal to a busy student who otherwise survives on whatever the dining hall is serving. On the other hand, the delicate process of building trusted relationships so that Hillel isn’t just another place to eat is where the real magic of the work happens.

Since school started in August at University of Memphis and Rhodes College, Hillel served ninety-six bagels at weekly bagel brunches, thirty-eight Shabbat meals enjoyed with friends from across both campuses, and forty-five cups of coffee shared over relationship-building conversations. Those relationships, though, are the real metrics of success in this line of work.

Relationship-based engagement is engagement with students based on their interests and passions that leads to sustained interaction. When successful, relationship-based engagement enables students to understand the role Judaism plays in their identity, empowers students to integrate Jewish values into their life choices, and teaches students to take action to incorporate Jewish tradition into their lives. Relationship-based engagement also helps results in students engaging with their community of Jewish peers and their connection to Israel. On average, students who participate in Hillel at least one time over the course of their college career exhibit statistically higher outcomes above than Jewish students who have never participated in Hillel. The more frequently a student engages with Hillel, the higher the outcomes they exhibit.

Last semester, over seventy Jewish students across Memphis schools have invested in their relationship with Hillel, and thus Jewish life, by attending a Hillel program or event over the course of the Fall semester. Thirty of those students have committed to Jewish life on campus by taking on a leadership role in Hillel or participating in more than five programs or events over the course of the Fall semester.

Jewish life continues to thrive on college campuses in Memphis, thanks to Memphis Jewish Federation’s Hillels of Memphis program. At Rhodes College, new Hillel Student Board officers were elected as the Fall semester came to a close in December. Pictured here are new officers, from left, Marisa Moore , Sophie Enda, Mira Greenberg, Sarah Ginsberg, and Emma Jane Hopper

In addition to building relationships with students, I have met with countless campus and community partners, further solidifying the role Jewish Life plays on campus as well as the role Hillel plays in the Memphis Jewish Community. I have gotten to know our amazing lay leaders and supporters, hearing your own Hillel stories as we together ponder how to honor the legacy of past Jewish life on Memphis campuses while evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s Jewish college students in today’s Memphis Jewish community. Today’s college students across the country struggle with demanding classes, extreme social pressures amplified by social media, and expectations to take advantage of every opportunity they come across for personal development and resume building while on campus. Many of them struggle with mental health, loneliness, and despair about the world they will be inheriting as they become leaders of tomorrow.

I have the distinct privilege of bearing witness to the journeys of Jewish students at Rhodes College and University of Memphis as they forge their way in the world and recommit to the role Judaism plays in their life. We live in a time when any Jewish life on campus should be seen not as expected, but as miraculous. For students who are surrounded by fast fads, countless trends that come and go, and more causes to fight for than ever before, reconnecting to Jewish values, traditions, and community is a steadfast way for Jewish students at Rhodes and University of Memphis to both remember who they are and also discover who they can be. For some that means stepping into a leadership role to help organize programs and events, or participating in the upcoming Jewish Learning Fellowship class in the Spring. For others, it means bringing their friends by the Morris S. Fogelman Jewish Student Center at University of Memphis to show off the incredible study and lounge space they have come to grow proud of as their own. No matter where the college students of Memphis are on their Jewish Journey, Hillel is here to meet them where they’re at and walk alongside them, coffee cup in hand.

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Sophie Bloch, Director of Hillels of Memphis, has been accepted to participate in the 8th cohort of the Hartman Fellowship for Hillel Professionals during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Hartman Fellowship for Hillel Professionals brings together a select group of campus professionals from across North America and Israel for study of Israel’s central challenges. The Fellowship cultivates this group of elite leaders to think in values-based terms about Israel as a core element of Jewish life, and provides them with a set of tools to foster substantive and compelling conversations about and relationships with Israel.

The Fellowship includes two in-person seminars at the Jerusalem based Shalom Hartman Institute, a mid-seminar intensive in New York City, and bi-weekly video conference calls throughout the academic year. As a Hartman Fellow, Sophie will study the Hartman Institute’s iEngage curriculum, which is designed to transform and elevate the tone and level of discourse about Israel on campus by exploring questions such as:

  • How do we create and maintain a Jewish democracy?
  • What values should a Jewish state embody?
  • What is the meaning of Jewish Peoplehood?

Sophie has previously participated in the Hillel Professionals cohort at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, as well as the Birthright Israel Fellows training program through the iCenter.

Sophie, front row right, previously participated in a Hillel Professionals cohort at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

“I’m excited to bring new knowledge and insights from the Hartman Fellowship back to my work on campus by stimulating meaningful conversations and dialogue among and between our students,” said Sophie. “I also hope to add to the conversation about Israel within the broader Memphis Jewish community.”

“We are so proud that a member of our staff has been chosen for this prestigious national fellowship,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, Chief Strategy Officer for Jewish Community Partners. “Sophie is a dynamic and engaging Jewish professional who will continue to strengthen Jewish life on campus and students’ connection to their Judaism and the State of Israel.”

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Memphis was not remotely on Tess Herzog’s radar as she searched for places to attend college.

“I was ready to go North East and get out of Tennessee,” said the Nashville native, Rhodes College freshman, and a recipient of a 2019-2020 Rhodes College Jewish Community Fellowship.

Lucky for Tess, her high school college counselor told her about the Fellowship opportunity and how she’d be a great match for the program. “I knew a few kids from my high school in Nashville that were a couple of years older than me who attended Rhodes and have introduced me to their friends,” said Tess. Another Nashville high school mate lives in her same dorm.

Tess is acclimating to the small campus, and is happy that a fellow classmate was able to bring her car to school so that they could explore Memphis.

“Memphis seems to be a great city with so much to experience,” she said. “I’m looking forward to my years at Rhodes and getting to know the other Fellows and meet the members of Hillel.”

“Tess is an amazing addition to the Rhodes Jewish community,” said Sophie Bloch, Director of Hillels of Memphis. “She is a passionate, driven young woman who offers a friendly face to other new students and engages in Jewish learning with a contagious sense of openness. It’s been a pleasure to get to know Tess over the course of her first semester and I’m eager to see where the rest of her college career takes her.”

Tess qualified for the Jewish Community Fellowship because of her active involvement as a leader in various Jewish and communal activities. She and her family belong to The Temple in Nashville. She was active in BBYO in her freshman and sophomore years. She served as vice president of her class at Harpeth High School, and in her senior year served as secretary of the school’s ambassadors. As an ambassador she led tours for new students and helped train incoming leaders. Tess also played basketball and softball.

“The Fellowship continues to provide a unique opportunity to recruit Jewish students to Rhodes and to introduce those students to the warm and vibrant Jewish community that exists beyond the college walls,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, Chief Strategy Officer for Jewish Community Partners.

“I’ve been so busy and have only been here for part of a semester,” exclaimed Tess. “But it feels like I’ve already been here for a long time.”

Tess attended the first monthly Fellows introduction meeting convened by Rhodes Hillel and is looking forward to involvement with Hillel as the semester progresses.

There are five $10,000 merit fellowships available to first-year students who participate in Jewish life in their communities across the United States. Eligible students must apply for admission to Rhodes for the Fall 2020 semester, be offered admission, and choose to enroll at Rhodes. Fellowship applications are reviewed by Memphis Jewish Federation (MJF), which is managed by Jewish Community Partners. MJF will recommend applicants to Rhodes based on their participation in Jewish life and service, and based on the responses to an essay prompt.

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One of the many ways we help the Memphis Jewish community thrive is by creating opportunities for community members to find meaningful involvement in Jewish experiences. In 2016, we helped launch a program designed to help engage college students, the Jewish Community Fellowship at Rhodes College.    

In support of strengthening both Jewish campus life in Memphis and the greater Memphis Jewish community, a prestigious college fellowship opportunity is available for students participating in Jewish life in their communities who elect to attend Rhodes College.

The Jewish Community Fellowship created by Rhodes College has made available five $10,000 merit-based fellowships, each renewable for 3 years for a total of $40,000 per student.

“Students come to Rhodes from all over the world. Some are here for those four years before embarking on their careers or graduate programs elsewhere, while others choose to make Memphis their home. Some have lived in Memphis their whole lives. But whether they are here for a short period or are permanent Memphians, Jewish Rhodes students should feel like they are part of our Memphis Jewish community,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, Chief Strategy Officer at Jewish Community Partners (JCP).

“These fellowships are the beginning of the process of connecting Jewish students to the Memphis community,” said Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein. “Once they have been awarded the fellowship, we expect them to become involved in the Rhodes Hillel’s leadership, we invite them to interact with community leaders, and offer other meaningful ways for them to become woven into the fabric of Jewish Memphis.”

Read about past fellowship recipients here, in their own words.

Students must apply to Rhodes College as either Early Decision or Early Action applicants by November 15, or as Regular Decision Applicants by January 15. Students must then be offered admission for the Fall 2020 semester, and choose to enroll at Rhodes. Details on the application process can be found in the Fact Sheet below.

An evaluation committee for the Fellowship, established by JCP, will review all applications and make recommendations to Rhodes. Recommended students will be considered for admission and the fellowship by Rhodes on a competitive basis. Students winning recognition will receive a Jewish Community Fellowship from Rhodes of $10,000, renewable for up to three years.

Rhodes may award competitive students an academic scholarship in a larger amount. In that case, the scholarships may not be combined and the larger scholarship will be awarded. However, students will still receive the other benefits of being named a Rhodes Jewish Community Fellow.

The fellowship application can be found here.

For additional information, contact Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein at 901-767-7100 or bzuckerbrot-finkelstein@jcpmemphis.org.

Rhodes College Jewish Community Fellowship-2020-2021

Fact Sheet

Deadline to apply for admission for Fall 2020 semester
Early Decision: November 1, 2019
Early Action: November 15, 2019
Regular Decision: January 15, 2020

Deadline to apply for Fellowship
For Early Decision and Early Action Applicants: November 15, 2019
For Regular Decision Applicants: January 15, 2020

Scholarship description and requirements

Rhodes College is pleased to make available five $10,000 merit scholarships to students who participate in Jewish life in their communities across the United States. Eligible students must apply for admission to Rhodes by January 15th for the Fall 2020 semester, be offered admission and choose to enroll at Rhodes. Fellowship applications will be reviewed by Memphis Jewish Federation (MJF) and MJF will recommend applicants to Rhodes. A complete application includes a cover letter, a resume of current participation in Jewish life, and a 500-word essay. The essay prompt can be found below.

Fellowship awardees are expected to become active in Jewish life at Rhodes and to fulfill the following requirements:

Attend a minimum of 10 Rhodes Hillel events/programs each school year;

Plan one Rhodes Hillel event/program per year;

Attend monthly leadership meetings with other Fellows and Rhodes Hillel Director;

Write an article about Jewish life at Rhodes for print and electronic distribution;

Make a presentation about Jewish life at Rhodes at a Memphis Jewish Federation board meeting;

Complete an annual Fellowship Recertification Form.

In addition, Fellows are strongly encouraged to consider an elected leadership position on the Rhodes Hillel Student Board.

Essay prompt

We live in an increasingly complicated world. How does your involvement in Jewish life influence the way you foresee accomplishing Rhodes’ vision of “graduating students with a life-long passion for learning, a compassion for others, and the ability to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action in their communities and the world?”

Please apply here: https://admission.rhodes.edu/register/jewishcommunityfellowship

Background on Hillels of Memphis

Hillels of Memphis serves Jewish students throughout the Memphis community, from all Memphis campuses. The Rhodes College chapter was launched in 2017, building on the previous work of the Jewish Student Union. Rhodes Hillel is operated by a student board in cooperation with Hillels of Memphis Director Sophie Bloch and a lay-led Advisory Council. Rhodes Hillel focuses on cultural, religious, educational, and social programming and is open to all students regardless of background. Rhodes Hillel is operated by Memphis Jewish Federation and endowed through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

Background on Memphis Jewish Community

The Memphis Jewish community is a full-service, vibrant community with seven synagogues, a beautiful and first-rate Jewish Community Center, engaging programming for youth and young adults, outstanding Jewish preschools, day schools and religious schools, an active Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation, kosher food options, award-winning residential nursing home and rehabilitation facility and more.  For more information about Jewish life in Memphis, please go to www.jcpmemphis.org

Questions/Additional information

At Rhodes College, please contact Ali Hamilton, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions: 901-843-3706/hamiltona@rhodes.edu

At Rhodes Hillel, please contact Sophie Bloch, Campus Director: 901-452-2453/sophiebloch@hillelsofmemphis.org

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When Jewish students begin classes at University of Memphis and Rhodes College this fall, Sophie Bloch will be at the forefront to help them navigate Jewish life throughout their college journey.

As Jewish Community Partners’ new Director of Hillels of Memphis and Director of Student Life, Sophie brings enthusiasm and personal knowledge. She comes to Memphis ready to share the positive experiences she gained while spending four years as a Hillel professional at the University of California, San Diego. There, her dedication and commitment was recognized as she worked her way up from travel counselor and marketing associate, to director of engagement and ultimately director of student life.

“We are so fortunate to welcome Sophie to the Memphis community,” said Wendy Rotter, Rhodes College advisory council chair and co-chair of the search committee. “As a Jewish professional, she brings the skills and experience of engaging and connecting Jewish college students to their faith, to each other, and to the community. We conducted a national search and had a field of strong candidates. Sophie filled our job description perfectly. I look forward to seeing Jewish life flourish on both campuses!”

Sophie’s introduction to the Hillel movement began with a Birthright Trip to Israel. The trip was sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley Hillel, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Performance Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric, and a Master of Arts in Jewish Education.

“That trip to Israel was life changing for me,” she said. “I connected with Jewish life on campus, made new friends, and knew that I wanted to work for Hillel. I was inspired to pass on the mission and values of Hillel and help other students, like myself, explore Judaism in a meaningful and personal way.”

Sophie believes that coming to Hillels of Memphis was beshert (destiny). When her husband, (then fiancé) Aaron Bloch, matched at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Urology Residency program, she began looking for a job in Memphis.

“It was perfect timing that Jewish Community Partners had just posted the opening for Hillels of Memphis,” she said.

“Jewish college students and the entire Memphis Jewish community will benefit from the ‘perfect timing,’” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, JCP’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Anyone who meets Sophie will immediately connect with her warm and engaging manner. We all look forward to her taking our two campus Hillel chapters to even greater heights.”

“Everyone has been so impressed by Sophie’s enthusiasm, positive attitude, and her plans for Hillel,” said Hal Fogelman, University of Memphis Hillel advisory council chair and co-chair of the search committee. “Students will really enjoy working with Sophie as they collaborate with her on future activities and events.”

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