Framed by the Jewish imperatives of tzedakah (righteousness), gemilut Hasidim (acts of random kindness), and tikkun olam (repair of the world), Hillel engages and empowers students in meaningful public service and encourages creative thinking when addressing social justice issues. In the process of bringing about meaningful social change, participants grow intellectually and spiritually.
Through our extensive Alternative Break program, Hillel at Virginia Tech offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in new local and global communities in order to learn about and actively combat social justice issues. Students come to understand their role in the world and their ability to produce change.
On an alternative break, college students engage in volunteer service, typically for a week, during their college break. Each trip has a focus on a particular social issue, such as poverty, education reform, refugee resettlement, and the environment.
Every semester, we incorporate tzedek into our programs. Some of our projects include “Movies and Mitzvah” during Jewish Awareness Month, helping at a local food pantry, and visiting websites whose sponsors donate food to underprivileged nations by our simply clicking a button. Community service does not have to be time-consuming, difficult, or boring. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”