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Community BlogRabbinical School Class of 2019 Helps Fund Scholarship

Ilana Zietman said she’d choreograph a dance for you. Jevin Eagle promised to help with your taxes. Hayley Goldstein offered to serenade you with a soulful niggun. Misha Clebenar secured you a guest spot on his podcast. And Shuki Zehavi said he would shecht you a fresh kosher chicken… if you gave a gift toward their Hebrew College Rabbinical School Class of 2019 scholarship campaign. And it worked!

The classmates created a witty fundraising video to reach their fundraising goal of $20,000 to create a scholarship for an incoming Hebrew College student during the 2020 academic year. They not only met their goal. They exceeded it, raising over $25,000 for the scholarship and, to their delight and surprise, securing an annual total of more than $47,000 in total gifts from students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and family given by and on behalf of the Class of 2019.

“We’re very excited that we were able to beat our goal and make the Hebrew College experience more affordable for a new student coming to the school,” said Rabbi Mona Strick, Rab`19, who co-chaired the Class of 2019 Scholarship Gift Campaign with Stephanie Sanger-Miller, Rab`19. “There are many people out there who have the potential to be talented and strong leaders in the Jewish community and who may have financial challenges in coming to Hebrew College. We wanted to give something as a class that could really help people experience what we’ve experienced.”

The Rabbinical School Class of 2018 was the first to create such a scholarship as a class gift, and raised more than $30,000 towards it. The Class of 2019 decided to continue their legacy.

“The Class of 2019 picked up on the initiative launched by the Class of 2018, and turned it into a tradition!” said Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld. “We’re so grateful that they have chosen to celebrate this milestone in their own lives by supporting the next generation of Hebrew College students. We’re inspired and gratified by their partnership and shared vision.”

In addition to the scholarship, gifts from the Class of 2019 also included $7,500 for a 2:1 Student Participation Challenge generously donated by Rabbi Jevin Eagle, Rab`19 and his wife Janine. “As Jewish leaders it is our obligation to model the mitzvah of Tzedakah and to model the importance of giving thanks,” Rabbi Eagle said. “So many others having given money, time, effort, and wisdom so we can be enrolled as students at our amazing school.  Participating in this important development effort is a way of giving thanks to these generous people and a way of enabling more in the future.”

Students raised more than $6,300 in the 2:1 challenge, nearly doubling the amount needed to earn the match, for a combined total of over $13,800. In addition, more than $14,000 in unrestricted gifts were given by and on behalf of students in the graduating class.

“People were happy to support the learning at Hebrew College. They’re excited to see all the new innovations coming out of the school,” Rabbi Strick said. “I’m a second-career person. For me, it was a gift to be able to go through this program, to study every day for the past five years. It was an extraordinary experience. This is one of the best rabbinical programs out there. I think it’s amazing to see what has been accomplished and I’m excited to see what’s coming next.”

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