Dear Gallaudet Community,

As the Program Director of Hillel at Gallaudet University, I am thrilled to start working with students, faculty, and staff. After serving various leadership positions at the University of Central Florida, I witnessed numerous transformative experiences and students’ lives changed as a result. I have been continually inspired by the strength of our community and its commitment to thrive in our society.

My journey and the path to discovering my Jewish identity began when my mom’s entire family and I came together for Shabbat dinner at my grandmother’s tiny house in Israel in 1996. The spirited chanting, delicious food and meaningful discussion became a tradition in my family. After living in Israel for several years, I realized how fortunate I was to be a part of the community filled with historical significance, cultural values, and traditions. Israel is a tiny country and yet it is a place of amazing variety, with global significance.

In 2012, I joined Hillel at Gallaudet’s Birthright Israel trip. It was a life-changing experience for me. I’ll never forget what trip participant Richard Dahan told us: “Home is a place where you feel belonged, the culture and the values in you. Israel is like a home you can carry in your heart.”

As I step into my new role as the Program Director of Hillel at Gallaudet University, I am eager to help you to discover and express your Jewish identity, to help you find your Jewish home. And I also want to learn even more from you!

Hillel’s mission says we are “Enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.” Together, we’ll create a vibrant environment where that can become a reality

I look forward to getting to know you. Feel free to say hello when you see me around campus, or let’s get together over a cup of coffee on me!

Cheers,
Jacob Salem

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Richard Dahan participated in our trip four years ago and this is one of his clips produced throughout his adventure in Israel. As it was a life changing experience, he has grown fond of Israel’s people and culture.

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