Dear friends, fans, and followers,
I have good news to share with you:
2 years ago, a survey of uninvolved Jewish college students on 10 campuses found that the #1 reason why they weren’t involved was because “the ‘very Jewish’ students on campus make [them] feel uncomfortable”. #2 was because they weren’t friends with students who were Jewishly involved. Those unfortunate sentiments are partially what has inspired H2H’s ‘very Jewishly’ involved students to break down those barriers, bridge those gaps, and help outsiders find their place in the Jewish community.
And now, just last month an independent study found that nearly 75% of students said they viewed Hillel and “Hillel people” favorably – an increase of more than 20 percent since 2005!
Heart to Heart, as the only organization, movement, or project working directly on this issue, has undoubtedly contributed to this important change and we are proud of that accomplishment. It took much hard work and genuine care on the part of our students and community leaders, who worked tirelessly to make this cause their own on an ever-growing number of campuses. Their efforts over the past 2 years – running over 250 Shabbat dinners for uninvolved Jewish students, going out of their comfort zone to welcome people into their Jewish community, and building authentic and meaningful relationships with their peers – have made a real difference in thousands of lives, including their own. And we have begun to change the face of Jewish life on campus: tens of Hillels and Chabads around the country have begun adopting our models of engagement and community-building, and over 1,500 student have signed up to join Heart to Heart’s cause.
75% is still not high enough, and building those bridges and relationships is just the beginning – but as we enter yet another year spreading the messages and models of H2H on campus, it is with confidence and humility that we are making a difference in the Jewish world. And for everyone else, I welcome you to join our cause – find out how you too can make a difference in your community and in people’s lives.
With great pride and hope for the future,
Director, Heart to Heart