by Sean Arison
My experience at Hillel 818 has been amazing thus far. I began attending events at Hillel last Fall, and each time I attended an event, I left feeling uplifted and whole. Considering I attend College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, I was often the only member of my school who would come to Hillel events; however, thanks to Hillel’s immediately welcoming community I never felt excluded. I was immediately able to make and grow closer to the many amazing friends I have gained through Hillel. Although my experience of the Jewish community in the Valley had been extremely fulfilling, I knew that one aspect was missing. There is around 17,000 students enrolled at College of the Canyons, yet no Jewish organizations. I enjoyed coming to the Valley for Jewish life and community, but I knew that there was potential for more at College of the Canyons. After firsthand experiencing the meaningful, vivacious, and consoling effect that participation in a Jewish organization can have on an individual’s college experience, I decided that I would bring Jewish life to my campus. I started recruiting members and by the following Spring semester the Jewish Club at College of the Canyons was officially chartered. Initially, attendance was small, however we were soon able to reach out to the community to develop a stable base of active members and hold events such as a mock Passover Seder, Megillah reading and a Rabbi panel. Since the beginning of Fall 2019 we have continued to grow and have now officially become part of the Hillel 818 family! My experience with Hillel 818 and in starting the Jewish club at my school has been nothing short of inspirational. Not only have I been able to be a part of a warm community, but I have been able to actually make a difference in the Jewish life on my campus. I hope that in the coming year I will be able to give students who otherwise would not have had a Jewish experience during college a Jewish community and identity. Thank you to everyone at Hillel 818 for your love and continued support!