Muhlenberg College Hillel welcomes first year-long Israel Fellow to campus

News Image Muhlenberg College Hillel welcomes Or Adi, its first full-time, year-long Jewish Agency for Israel and Hillel International Israel Fellow to campus.

 Thursday, August 20, 2015 02:50 PM

Photo of 2015 Israel FellowAdi will work through Muhlenberg College Hillel to shape, expand and enrich its Israel engagement, Israel education and Israel experience programming. She will travel to Israel as a staff member on two Birthright-Israel trips. Adi will serve as a core member of the Hillel team, working closely with faculty, staff and students as well as the local Jewish community.

“We are thrilled to welcome Or Adi to Muhlenberg College Hillel,” said Hillel director and Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Melissa B. Simon. “She will bring her knowledge and skills to bring focus to our Israel programs and build more student relationships across campus.”

Originally from Tel Aviv, Adi served in the Israeli Army as a Gadna Commander, working with Israeli youth in order to certify them towards their enlistment to the military, and a Commander and Sergeant of the "Marva" company: A pre boot camp course that is intended of exposing Jewish youth from overseas to the IDF's history and views, by having them experience the military life and receive military training.

“I see this role as a natural continuation to my job in the army. Meeting with young academic Jews in the world is part of my personal career development. I chose to work for the Jewish Agency as a goal to connect young Jews in the Diaspora with the state of Israel, in order to strengthen their Jewish identity,” Adi said.

Adi speaks Hebrew, English and Spanish, and studied literary Arabic. She is earning a B.A. in international relations and Middle Eastern studies and Islam at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Outside of work, Adi loves sports, especially surfing, yoga and running. In addition, she dances salsa.

In the fall of 2014, in the aftermath of the War in Gaza, Muhlenberg College Hillel welcomed a short-term Israel Fellow, Yael Gertel, to campus to provide extra support, unique and innovative strategy for Israel engagement and education. Through the work of this experienced veteran Israel Fellow, Hillel was able to benefit from a taste of another medium through which students are able to connect with, understand and support Israel on campus.

Due to the overwhelming success of Gertel’s work and in thanks to the generosity of an alumni donor, Muhlenberg College Hillel welcomed Adi as its first full-time, year-long Israel Fellow for the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester.

Since 2003, Hillel International has partnered with The Jewish Agency for Israel, placing Israel Fellows on campuses throughout North America to engage Jewish college students. Jewish Agency Israel Fellows are charismatic young professionals who have served in the Israel Defense Forces. In their roles on campus, they share personal experiences of modern Israel through the lens of its socially-progressive values and its accomplishments in technology, life sciences and the arts. Working hand-in-hand with Hillel professionals on campus, the Fellows support students and help them to grapple with complex issues that are often emotional and may seem contradictory. Israel Fellows often become the face of Israel for the North American students they work with, offering them a unique and authentic relationship with Israel and Israelis.

Muhlenberg College Hillel serves the most active Jewish campus population in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Nearly 30% of the 2200 member student body at Muhlenberg College identifies as Jewish. Over two-thirds of the Jewish students on campus are active in Hillel, making it the largest student organization of any kind on campus. Muhlenberg College was recently recognized as having the seventh largest Jewish population per capita of any college in the nation. Hillel’s Mission: Enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.