Ten Years and Counting | Illini Chabad Celebration Event
October 20, 2013 • Bryn Mawr Country Club

Let me first start by welcoming our honored guests, Karen and David Hyman and Joel Holland along with Rabbi Dovid and Goldie.

I am honored to speak this evening as the president of the student board of Illini Chabad, at its 10-year celebration. Chabad means so much to me and everyone else on the board. Rabbi Dovid and Goldie have created an environment where every Jewish student has the opportunity to practice Judaism openly, observe Shabbat, make challah, shake the lulav and esrog, put up mizzuzahs, dance with the torah on simchas torah, eat Kosher at Allen hall, have special shmura matzvah on Passover, listen to the Macabeats sing at the first Midwest Jewish Student Shabbaton last year, learn, study, or just sit and eat. I could go on and on for days about the opportunities that Rabbi Dovid and Goldie provide, but I won’t bore you.  

We are all here for the same reason because either a brother, sister, son, daughter, grandchild, or friend has found something special on campus; they have found  “a home away from home” something increasingly hard to find on campus. It is a place where a campus of over forty three thousand undergraduates, graduates, and professional students can make a large campus feel like a campus of one. Rabbi Dovid and Goldie have created an environment where anyone can openly be Jewish on campus, weather that means eating matzo-ball soup on Friday night or davening on Shabbat. No matter where you fall there is no judgment and a place for you, and all of your friends at the table.  I can celebrate all the holidays and Shabbat and feel like I am at home with people who care about me.

Being the president of the student board has been an amazing experience. It is a way for me to help give back to the Rabbi and Goldie for everything that they have done for me. It is nice to work with the other students on the board who help out and want to give back as well. Our goal is to help make an environment where Jewish students want to come to and be part of the Illini Chabad community. However the goal of tonight is not just to ensure that those on campus in my time are able to experience this, but of all those who follow after us, are able to experience it as well. We must ensure that all of those who follow in our footsteps are able to experience the Jewish roots when they spend time at the University of Illinois.

Tonight we are celebrating the 10 years of hard work that Rabbi Dovid and Goldie, the time and effort of David & Karen Hyman and Joel Holland have shown for the future of Jewish life on campus, and the commitment that so many of you have made to bringing Jewish life to campus. However, the goal of tonight is not just a decade, or two decades, or even three, it is many decades of continued simcahs, celebrations, food, and friends who become a member of the other tribe, the Jewish Illini Tribe. So much has already been done in 10 years; I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for in the future.

Mazel Tov to the Rabbi, Goldie, David and Karen Hyman and Joel Holland and thank you all for your commitment to the future of Jewish life at the University of Illinois.