KENT, Ohio – Jennifer Chestnut, Executive Director of Hillel at Kent State, recently started an exclusive fellowship program for Jewish college professionals from around the world.
She is participating in the Hartman Fellowship for Campus Professionals, a program created by the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel in partnership with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
The 12-month fellowship began with a weeklong intensive study program July 2-9 Jerusalem, Israel.
Chestnut was one of 15 early- and mid-career campus professionals selected for the fully-subsidized fellowship program. the first fellowship experience for Chestnut, who has served as the Executive Director at Kent State Hillel for the last 13 years.
During the recent week in Israel, she said the fellows spent every day studying and learning with prestigious Hartman faculty and staff. The curriculum for the fellowship is based on the Hartman Institute’s iEngage Project
. Chestnut said that the project focuses on “elevating the conversation about Israel on campuses to a nuanced values-based one as opposed to a black-and-white, right-and-wrong conversation based on a crisis mentality.”
“We were learning with other campus professionals who are working on this topic globally,” Chestnut said. “Having the content from these world-renowned educators matched with these practitioners working on the ground at these campuses was a special combination.”
Of the global pilot group of participants, 20 percent are Cleveland natives: Chestnut; Rabbi Julie Roth from the Center for Jewish Life and Executive Director of Hillel at Princeton University; and Rabbi Michael Uram, Director and Campus Rabbi of Penn Hillel. Ohio also is represented by Rabbi Benjamin Berger, Senior Jewish Education at Ohio State University Hillel.
The fellowship program will continue with a meeting during the annual Hillel Institute conference in August in St. Louis. Participants also will connect via bi-weekly video conferences and a three-day mid-year seminar in the United States in January 2013. Finally, the fellowship will conclude with another weeklong seminar in July 2013 in Jerusalem.
About Hillel: The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is committed to creatively empowering and engaging Jewish students through its network of more than 500 campus foundations, program centers and affiliates. Its long-standing dedication to building Jewish identity, while nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth in a pluralistic community, positions Hillel as a leader in building a stronger Jewish people and stronger Jewish future.
Hillel at Kent State is an independent 501(c) 3 Jewish student organization, a beneficiary of the Ohio Valley Hillel Consortium and not a department of or funded by Kent State University.