Meet Marisa Rubin

Marisa Rubin will never forget her first week at Towson University.

A senior student who transferred to pursue a degree in mass communications, she was nervous about finding her place among students who had already formed their social circles.

Yet thanks to her discovery of Towson Hillel, Marisa instantaneously found her community – as well as a close group of friends and, ultimately, her niche.

“It was the first day of school. I remember I had a gap between classes and I decided to pop into the student union,” says Marisa. “I saw a table in the union with the Hillel banner and began speaking with one of the students there. We talked about traveling to Israel. Three hours later, we were still talking and the next weekend I was invited to a Shabbat dinner at an apartment with him and other Hillel students.”

That dinner was Marisa’s first Hillel experience, followed by other Shabbat dinners, Kabbalat Shabbats, movie nights, even a scavenger hunt of downtown Baltimore. She even helped out with her sorority’s co-sponsored Shabbat with Hillel.

“I was active in USY (United Synagogue Youth) in high school, so going to Hillel I felt a sense of connection,” she says.

Her experience was so positive that she decided to apply for Hillel’s Springboard Fellowship, a two-year fellowship designed to cultivate the next generation of Jewish leaders, run through Hillel International. Next year, she will be part of an incubator cohort and hopes to work on a social media project to help Hillel with their online presence.

Being part of Hillel has been an amazing experience for Marisa. She’s had a chance to live her Jewish values with other students who connect in the same way she does.

“I don’t think I would have as many friends or as many things to do if I had not connected with Hillel that first week,” says Marisa. “I was able to connect to people who thought like me.”

At the same time, the staff has been incredibly supportive. “We rejoice together in good times and they are always there to talk to me in tough times. They provide me with unbiased opinions that help me make decisions.”

But more than that, Towson Hillel has helped Marisa embrace her Judaism.

“No matter how you see yourself Jewishly, whether it’s culturally or religiously, you can find programs that make sense for you. And most important, Hillel has helped me become a Jewish adult and understand what that means.”

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