Reported on in the New York Sun and The Jewish Week and blogged about by jewschool.com, NYU’s Bronfman Center’s Matzah Sculpture Competition sponsored by Manischewitz strikes us as a great idea for a Passover outreach program. The program is accessible because building or viewing the sculptures requires no prior Jewish knowledge and is entirely free. Furthermore, the $1000 prize is an excellent incentive for participation in the competition! It is not surprising that the sculptures drew a large crowd at the Bronfman Center. We at JOI applaud NYU’s Bronfman Center and Manischewitz for bringing this event to NYU students. But we also wonder how many more students could have been reached had the event been held in a more public campus space. Hillel buildings are wonderful places and The Bronfman Center is an especially beautiful space, but Hillels should not be afraid to expand their reach beyond their four walls.
Through a generous grant from the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, JOI is currently working with Hillel International to encourage and train Hillels to reach out more effectively beyond their core group of engaged students. We are developing a toolbox that includes many Public Space JudaismSMprograms designed to take place in campus cafeterias, outside school libraries, and even at college athletic centers. Look for creative and intriguing Public Space JudaismSM events to arrive soon at a college campus near you!
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