Connected to the deep tradition of social justice found in Jewish texts and Jewish history, the University of Richmond Hillel engages in meaningful social action programming within the greater Richmond community and the greater world throughout the year. Built on the philosophies of the University of Richmond's commitment to community engagement and the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, we partner with groups in order to educate ourselves and our campus and make a difference in this world. In past years, Hillel has co-sponsored a suicide awareness run/walk for SAVE, made and donated blankets in the winter for Safe Harbor Shelter, wrote thank you cards for our University facilities employees, and partnered with Jewish Family Services of Richmond on some of their programming.
The major project we have been working on has been Draw Back the Curtain. This full-length documentary weaves through thirty interviews of former-Soviet Jewish refugees and the volunteers that welcomed them in Richmond, Draw Back the Curtain. This story embodies the American Jewish story and the greater American story – one of immigration, acculturation, and national pride. Draw Back the Curtain is a joint venture with Jewish Family Services of Richmond. This program is financially supported in part by the Genesis Fund of Richmond Jewish Foundation, and together, the University of Richmond Hillel and JFS have been able to collect and archive the story of dozens of Jewish refugees from the Former Soviet Union who were resettled in the late 1980s and 1990s. For more information about this project, check out the Draw Back the Curtain website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.
For more information about community engagement opportunities in the Richmond area, explore the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement community partners map. And if you have a Social Action project you would like to propose, please contact our Hillel Social Action Coordinator, Benjamin Pomerantz.