by Abby Sipes
Hi everyone! My name is Abby Sipes and I am your new Russian Speaking Jewish intern at Hillel 818. I come from a family who is half Russian and half American. My Russian identity is a huge part of who I am. The Russian side of my family comes from Saint Petersburg, Russia. My first language was Russian and didn’t speak English until I was about 3 years old. Likewise, I am also a proud Jew. I have always been involved with the Jewish community and knew that when I was in college I was going to stay as involved as I was growing up. I am a proud Russian, and a proud Jew, however the Jewish community hasn’t always provided a space for me to be both at the same time. I was beyond excited about discovering RSJ here at Hillel 818 because I knew that it would give me and others like myself the environment to be both.
I’m stoked for the potential for RSJ to provide that space for other Russian Jewish students this coming year. I’m the leader of RSJ because of my friends who have been past RSJ leaders, who encouraged me to take ownership of this important cause. I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone in order to gain different experiences. I hope to see all of you at upcoming events this year. Let’s make this year a year to remember!
RSJ is in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation, which awarded Hillel 818 a cutting edge grant for its Jewish Identity Project - featuring programming for Israeli, Russian, and Persian Jewish students.