Universities are welcoming back students to learn both in-person and remotely. As thousands return to familiar routines, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County is excited to support students from all walks of life with two important pillars – financial aid and spiritual guidance.

The Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation (JJCF) has provided the financial support needed for more than 70 students to continue to strive for their goals. And thanks to your support of the Jewish Federation of SPBC, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach and Chabad Student Center receive grants to provide students with a spiritual “home away from home.”

Helping make dreams possible

This year has been especially challenging with the disruption of the pandemic and its effect upon employment. Established by visionary donors, scholarship endowment funds have helped fill the gaps. Together with your generosity, this assistance enabled more than 430 students to continue their education.

Aid provided through the JJCF and the Jewish Education Loan Fund (JELF) also allowed students to focus on their classes, rather than worry about how to pay for them.

“JELF has been a tremendous help in helping me reach my goals and aspirations. Since the burden of paying for school has been made lighter, I am more able to focus on developing myself as a student and soon to be professional. I have more time to volunteer and be a part of my campus wide community, which has greatly enhanced my college experience,” said an aspiring speech language pathologist from Boca Raton, who is attending University of Massachusetts.

Keeping Jewish connections strong on campus

To combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach and Chabad Student Center and their campus Rabbis offer students a myriad of ways to stay connected to their culture.

For example, at Florida Atlantic University, Rabbi Rose Durbin provides Jewish context for Hillel’s professional staff and introduces a “Jewish spark” into the programs, from social action projects to social events. This year, Rabbi Rose educated 100 students in an intensive Jewish Learning Fellowship and supported many others though mentoring and leadership involvement. For many students, Rabbi Rose is their rabbi, not just their campus rabbi.

Rabbi Liberow and Rebbetzin Rivka Liberow assist students and alumni with their families through the Chabad Student Center. They have witnessed increased participation in what students call the “tribe vibe.” Students who are practicing social distancing are receiving support via phone and Zoom calls.

“The students are crashing down on us,” Rabbi Liberow said. “It’s unbelievable how many new students are coming. We have students every Friday night and a minyan every Shabbos morning.”

“We think maybe COVID-19 woke people up and made them see how important community is. They’re seeking out connection. We keep hearing, ‘it feels so good to see people, it’s so good to be back’,” added Rebbetzin Rivka Liberow.