A Jewish journey comes full circle

When Dona Standel first enrolled as a freshman at San Francisco State University in 2005, she had few, if any, ties to the Jewish community. While she grew up in the heavily Jewish San Fernando Valley, and had an Israeli mother, Dona had no formal Jewish education and no real sense of Jewish identity. “I didn’t even know that you could belong to a temple,” Dona said. “That’s how unimportant it was in my family growing up.”

It wasn’t until she happened upon a Hillel table in the spring of her freshman year that Dona’s Jewish journey began. Although she’d always had an active campus social life, Dona felt that something was missing. One day, while walking through campus, she came across a Hillel table. “I finally paid attention to the word Hillel, and I thought, ‘that sounds like something Jewish.’” The Hillel representative invited Dona to a Shabbat dinner, and after that first Friday night meal, she rarely missed another.

Wanting to connect with people around her Israeli heritage, Dona began attending Israel Coalition meetings. Immediately, she said, she felt a “familial connection.” By her sophomore year, Dona was a Koret Intern, helping to plan Hillel events. And now, as the Undergraduate Program and Engagement Coordinator at San Francisco Hillel, 22-year-old Dona has the opportunity to reach out to Jewish students the same way that Jewish students reached out to her. Were it not for our funding of San Francisco Hillel, and seven other campus Hillels around the Bay Area, Dona may never have had the chance to discover her Jewish identity, let alone become a proud Jewish professional.

However because of the economic recession, our ability to continue to fund Hillel – among other key communal services – at current levels, is in jeopardy. Hillel, like so many of the programs and services we support, counts on the Federation for a significant portion of its budget. We are in a crisis situation, and we are asking you to help us meet the challenge. Thanks to the Goldman Family dollar for dollar matching grant, you can double your gift’s impact on programs like Hillel.

  • Current donors under the age of 50 who increase their gift from the previous year will get a dollar for dollar match on the increased portion.
  • New donors under the age of 50 who make their first pledge to the JCF Annual Campaign will have their gifts doubled.

Don’t let a future Jewish leader slip through the cracks. Please give to the Annual Campaign today.

Categories: Grantees


April 27, 2010


The Federation