You Too are Jewish Leaders
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Tilly Shames
Reprinted with thanks to eJewish Philanthropy
In my early days of working at Hillel, I remember having a conversation with a campus professional about how to find the Jews on campus. “You want to know who’s Jewish?” he asked, “Put up a sukkah on one side of the street and see who crosses to the other side to avoid you. That’s how you’ll know who is Jewish.” It was a cynical response of course, but one that has clearly stayed with me and has a pearl of truth to it.
In my role as a Jewish leader, I think a lot about the student who crosses the street. I want to reach that student and know that student because I was that student. I was the person who wouldn’t step foot in my Hillel.
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Tilly Shames, WGF Fellow (Class 28), is the Executive Director of University of Michigan Hillel. Tilly brings to Michigan, along with her Canadian accent, a passion for Jewish life, community-building and social justice. She has a Masters degree in International Affairs with a focus on development studies from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, Ottawa. She graduated summa cum laude from York University with a double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science. Tilly previously taught at Holy Blossom Temple’s high school in Toronto, and worked at the Canada-Israel Committee and United Nations Environment Programme. She loves art, traveling, yoga, anything food related, and diving into a conversation about our Jewish future. Tilly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.