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Vintage UW

Interest: Education, Living Judaism, Miscellaneous
Audience: College Students

UW freshmen learn what makes wine kosher while bottling their own vintage - over which they will reconnect and say L'Chaim at graduation!

$1,106 Raised out of $1,800
18 Funders
0 Days Remaining

What are you going to do?

Vintage UW is our opportunity to connect with new college students at the beginning of the university experience, engage them with hands-on and substantive learning, and build a concrete system by which Hillel and the Jewish community will remain present for them throughout the entire arc of their college experience.

As those of us who have spent time in the Jewish community know, there are virtually no Jewish celebrations or times of significant transition in Jewish life that do not feature a sip of sweet wine to elevate the spirits of those participating in the religious observance.  We believe that the university years represent the ultimate experience of transition and joy in young Jews' lives, and this program will allow us to imbue the college experience with Jewish learning and spiritual meaning.

Vintage UW will begin when Hillel gathers a group of students beginning their freshman year at the University of Washington.  Students participating in the program will receive a bucket of freshly-picked grapes (the growing season in Washington State neatly coincides with the beginning of the academic year) and will take part in a hands-on grape crush to collect the juice.  During the crush, students will study classical Jewish texts with Rabbi Oren Hayon to learn about the traditions which determine whether wine is kosher.  This learning experience will also allow participants to encounter some rich and challenging ideas about the role of wine in Jewish observance and celebration, and will encourage them to share their previous experiences with - and feelings about - Jewish life, as a way of engineering a strong connection within the group, and between the group and Hillel's staff.

After the juice is collected, and yeast and sugar are added, the mixture will be bottled and sealed, and set aside to mature.  As the bottles age in the cool dark of Hillel's basement, the spaces in the floors above them will be filled with outstanding and enriching programmatic experiences for students to participate in.  These experiences - created by the students just like the wine they bottled - will form the basis of the warm memories they will look back on after graduation.

When this group of freshmen reaches their senior year, they and their families will be invited for a reunion at Hillel's Senior Shabbat at graduation weekend.  At this very special Shabbat, the students, their families, and our staff will have the chance to look back on the progress they have made and the memories they have created over the preceding four years.

At Senior Shabbat, the wine the students had bottled as freshmen will now be drinkable, and the original group will reconvene to study text together once more, and we will all reflect on the Jewish values of scholarship, maturity and independence as we enjoy a celebratory toast to the completion of their tenure as Jewish college students.

We believe that Vintage UW has the potential to increase students' engagement with a small, select peer group, as well as with Hillel and its extraordinary staff.  We also believe that by focusing in a few Jewish essentials - study, community, and celebration - we will lay the groundwork for these students to nurture a lifelong connection with each other, and with their identity as proud, knowledgeable young adult Jews.

Rabbi Oren Hayon
Greenstein Family Executive Dire
Galit Ezekiel
Director of Operations and Devel
Josh Furman
Director of Programs and Strateg
Rayna Shoihat
Sigma Alpha Mu Head of Undergrad

About Rabbi Oren Hayon

Rabbi Oren grew up in Columbus, Ohio and received a degree in English from Rice University. Following college, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry. After several years there, he headed to Jerusalem to begin his rabbinical studies, and was ordained as a rabbi in 2004. He moved to Seattle after serving a large synagogue in Dallas, and is constantly searching for decent Mexican food anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Queen Anne with his wife Julie, their two daughters, and his dog Zeke. Rabbi Oren would love to have a conversation with you about music, movies, technology, or the thirty-five Scrabble words which contain the letter Q but not U.

About Galit Ezekiel

Galit Ezekiel brings over ten years of development experience to her position. She has worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations in the greater Seattle area including United Way, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Eastside Domestic Violence Program. Prior to her nonprofit career, she worked in the corporate sector as a recruiter and buyer. Galit holds a BA in Business Administration from the UW where she was an active Hillel member. When she's not busy raising funds for Hillel, Galit enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

About Josh Furman

Josh Furman is a graduate of the University of Washington Business School, and he has worked for Jconnect/Hillel UW since 2007. Raised in Oregon, Josh is a true northwesterner who loves calling Seattle home. Josh is passionate about creating the most innovative and fresh programs in the Seattle Jewish community, and he is always up for a challenge or exploring something new. Don't hesitate to message Josh if you want to meet up, because he always loves to go out for a cup of coffee or tea!

About Rayna Shoihat

Rayna grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago and received a degree in English and a teaching certificate for grades 6-12 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She started her work as a Hillel professional at St. Louis Hillel at Washington University, and was there for three years (apparently, she's got a thing for schools with "Washington" in their title!) She's excited to be joining the team at Hillel UW and to start exploring the Pacific Northwest after spending most of her life in the flat Midwest. In her free time, Rayna loves checking out live music, writing, and cooking for family and friends.