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#WhyWereSmiling - A Global Giving Week Introduction from Matt Baram


Prepare yourself for some shocking news: This year wasn’t easy.

The devastating effects of COVID-19 affected each of us in its own way. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have lost income. And all of us lost valuable face-to-face time with people who matter. And now, I think, we’re all understandably exhausted.

Yet, despite the scars of an impossible year, at Hillel 818 we’re choosing to focus on everything that’s making us smile. And through it all, we’re blessed to say that there’s a lot to smile about.

I’m smiling because of the 900+ students who have engaged with Hillel 818 during a year in which we were entirely virtual.

I’m smiling because of our incredible staff team, whose talent, creativity, and dedication inspire me to be better every day.

I’m smiling because of our student leaders whose passion and work ethic have transformed our Hillel 818 community, running close to 150 programs, and ensuring that Hillel 818 is for the students and by the students.

I’m smiling because of our wonderful board and directors, whose thoughtfulness and wisdom continues to push Hillel 818 forward!

I’m smiling because of all of our community supporters, who by donating their time, money, or other valuable resources, continue to be the lifeline of Hillel 818.

I’m smiling because Hillel 818 truly makes me believe that the future of Judaism is strong.

I’m smiling because during a difficult year, we managed to help feed the hungry, make new friends, create a welcoming community, deepen our Jewish roots, strengthen our ties to and understanding of Eretz Yisrael, and have a whole lot of fun.

I’m smiling because of what we’ve accomplished and all that is still to come. I’m so excited to see everyone in person again this coming school year, and the sound of laughter and friendship filling the halls of our beautifully renovated building!

And I’m smiling because I know that you, yes you, reading this today, are going to continue supporting us with a Hillel Global Giving Week donation, so we can continue making forward progress, changing the lives of our 6,500 undergraduate Jewish students as we make the future of Judaism, and the world, better, kinder, and full of more goodness.

Matt Baram

Executive Director

*Up to $1,000 of each donation qualifies for the gift match, and up to $7,500 total will be matched.

Click here to donate

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