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Hillel at UGA Celebrates Anniversary

Hillel at UGA celebrates their 20-year anniversary of UGA Day.

Mayor-Elect Kelly Girtz, Hillel at UGA Director Roey Shoshan, and Mayor Nancy Denson hold a governor's proclamation marking the 20th anniversary.

In time for the Jewish High Holidays, Hillel at the University of Georgia on Aug. 30 celebrated its 20th anniversary of Hillel at UGA Day and 60 years of holidays and Shabbat dinners at the Hillel at UGA house. The celebration included a tree planting with invited guests: Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson and Mayor-Elect Kelly Girtz.

The anniversary celebration attracted a crowd.

While UGA has a long history, it started the year with a new director, Roey Shoshan, and continued the season of renewal by planting a tree donated by John Dayton, a UGA professor in the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration and Policy.

Denson described the tree planting as “planting to plan for the future” and Girtz noted the importance of “community and laying down roots.”

Rabbi Russ Shulkes, executive director of Hillels of Georgia, plants a tree as part of the Hillel at UGA Day anniversary commemoration.

Meanwhile, Hillel emphasized the relationship between Athens and the rest of the state. “Athens is the heart and soul of Georgia,” said Rabbi Russ Shulkes, executive director for Hillels of Georgia. “We hope to continue to build a strong connection between Hillel, the University of Georgia, the city of Athens and the Jewish community we serve,” Shoshan said.

Having just moved from Atlanta to Athens, Shoshan sees strengthening the tie between the two cities as a priority in his vision for the future.

Many of the students who interact with Hillel at UGA come from Atlanta, and once they graduate, a large majority return to Atlanta to empower and influence the Jewish community, Hillel reported.

Hillel at UGA celebrates their 20-year anniversary at UGA Day, and 60 years with a Hillel house.

Hillel at UGA is a Jewish hub for more than 2,000 Jewish students and the broader UGA community. It empowers UGA’s Jewish students to explore their Jewish identity, discover Israel and build a thriving Jewish community on campus.

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