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In Jewish history there are no coincidences.”-Elie Wiesel

I saw this quote and I was compelled to read it again and again. In Jewish history there are no coincidences. I believe this deep in my heart that everything we do is all meant to be. We may not know the reason now and we may not know it tomorrow but someday the meaning will be clear.

There are no coincidences at UD Hillel. Our staff, our students and our board has worked extremely hard to make The Kristol Center a warm welcoming place for all Jewish students at UD. This year we embarked on the process of knowing exactly who we were engaging by keeping track of all interactions, with staff, at programs and at all the student run organizations. We know that we’ve engaged 44% of the Jewish students on the UD campus this current year. This now becomes our baseline and gives us goals for next year. With the potential of hiring a new engagement director, our goal for next year is to be closer to 65%.

It’s no coincidence that after 22 years of using this building that it’s in need of some major repairs. Is it a coincidence that the HVAC died on the first coldest day of the winter? Or was it an opportunity for our students to put together a video parody of “Frozen” which raised over $3000 on giving Tuesday? We also applied and received a grant from the Longwood Foundation to make major repairs to the building which will begin this summer.

It’s no coincidence that we are constantly recognized by the University. This year we won the Alumni President’s Award for most spirited and we tied for first place in the Senior Giving Challenge. These are no coincidences. It’s mainly because the staff and I are very competitive but more than that we have students who are passionate about what we do and support us!

It’s no coincidence that we have an internship program that is highly competitive. Our student interns managed to redesign our website, update all of our marketing material, send out over 50 e-blasts, 1000’s of posts on social media, cook over 2500 meals, engage 420 unaffiliated Jewish students, welcome 150 Freshmen, and spent a week educating the UD community about the Holocaust.

It’s no coincidence that our student run organizations are producing amazing programs. Look at the quality of the boards that they have been able to attract.

Lastly it is no coincidence that we were able to start so many new programs this year such as Lunch-n-Learn, Matzah Ball Soup Hotline, Text study, Cooking Classes, Senior Committee, Holiday Gift bags and so many more things. All of this isn’t a coincidence because I have the best team of people working together to make UD Hillel an organization that enriches Jewish student lives. We have a Board of Directors that is dedicated to the mission, support from many different organizations such as Jewish Federation of Delaware, a fantastic group of parents and alumni and the most committed staff. Thank you all but a huge thank you to Nicole, Carrie and Jason (our team) without them this would all just be a coincidence.

Mazel Tov to the class of 2015!

Warmly, Donna Schwartz Executive Director

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