Sustainable Community

Hillel aims to create an environment that generates a commitment to Jewish life. Throughout your internship, you have been creating programs that connect peers to Jewish tradition. However, once you complete your internship, what connection will these individuals have to the Jewish community? The following texts challenge us to think of how our work relates to the UF's future Jewish community.

Dr. Daniel Ziskin, Jews of the Earth, Golden, CO, June 20, 2000 (Testimony of COEJL Representatives at at U.S. Forest Service Hearings).

"The Jewish religion values continuity. Our traditions have been passed down from generation to generation for the last 35 centuries... We should be passing unspoiled wilderness and viable populations of every single species to future generations." [From COEJL website,]

Discussion Questions

1. What is the strength of Dr. Ziskin's statement?
2. How does your internship relate to his view of the Jewish religion?
3. In what ways have you preserved a sense of community and continuity?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better off than one, in that they have greater benefit from their earnings. For should they fall, one can raise the other; but woe betide one who is alone and falls with no companion to raise them! [JPS translation. Edited for gender neutrality]
(ט) טוֹבִים הַשְּׁנַיִם מִן הָאֶחָד אֲשֶׁר יֵשׁ לָהֶם שָׂכָר טוֹב בַּעֲמָלָם: (י) כִּי אִם יִפֹּלוּ הָאֶחָד יָקִים אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ וְאִילוֹ הָאֶחָד שֶׁיִּפּוֹל וְאֵין שֵׁנִי לַהֲקִימוֹ:

Discussion Questions

1. During this internship, when have you believed that two people better than one?
2. Who are your companions and how have you helped each other?

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 63a

R. Abba said in the name of R. Simeon ben Lakish: the person who lends money [to a poor person] is greater than the person who gives charity; and the one who throws money into a common purse [to form a partnership with the poor person] is greater than both. [translation by AJWS]
(אמר רבי) אבא אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש: גדול המלוה יותר מן העושה צדקה, ומטיל בכיס יותר מכולן.

Discussion Questions

1. In your opinion, how does this text relate to community building?
2. During the internship, when has partnerships proved successful? When have partnerships been difficult?

Rashi, Leviticus 25:35 (cf. Torat Kohanim, Sifre Behar, Chapter 5)

"And you hold [your fellow]" - Do not let your fellow slip down until they fall completely, for then it will be difficult to raise them; rather, strengthen your fellow as they begin to fall. To what is this comparable? To a burden upon an donkey. While it is still on the donkey, one person can hold it and set it in place. If it falls to the earth, even five people cannot set it back. [AJWS translation]

והחזקת בו - אל תניחהו שירד ויפול ויהיה קשה להקימו, אלא חזקהו משעת מוטת היד. למה זה דומה, למשאוי שעל החמור, עודהו על החמור אחד תופס בו ומעמידו, נפל לארץ, חמשה אין מעמידין אותו:

Discussion Questions

1. On campus, there are students who do not feel as if they belong in the UF Hillel community. Knowing this, how can we still apply the wisdom of this text?
2. What can you do during the semester to create an inclusive space?