Updates from matt vogel, executive Director (he/Him)
ISRAEL TURNS 75 REMARKS
START OF SEMESTER
My name is Matt Vogel (he/him), and I'm the Executive Director of Hillel at UVM.
(trigger warning, sexual assault.)
We believe you. It's not your fault. We are here for you.
This semester I have heard more personal, painful stories from Jewish victims of sexual assault than I ever have combined in my near two decades of work with Hillels on college campuses around the country. I have witnessed firsthand the process of what it is like for a victim to report their experiences formally. It was heartbreaking.
My Jewish values compel me to make the world better so I'm putting this out there because I need to do something to (tikkun olam) repair this world.
I am inviting you to Project Dinah. A new safe space for Jewish survivors of sexual assault to be heard, and seen, and supported, and learn together from our traditions on how to heal.
In the most difficult times of our Jewish tradition, we turn to our source, Torah, and commentary from our contemporaries and our ancestors to make meaning of the world.
In our first meeting (Wednesday, November 17 @ 7:00 pm) we will spend time listening to what brought you to this safe space and then use 1:1 (chevrutah) learning to examine the story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, whose story of sexual assault is written in the Book of Genesis. We'll use this source text of what was, what was written about since then, where we are now, and what we can do. Email email@example.com or text 802-238-4326 to RSVP and for the location.
From there, I don't know. Perhaps we'll keep meeting and learning together or perhaps nobody will show up for the first meeting. But I want everyone reading this to know that UVM Hillel is here for you and will not remain silent.
I recognize I'm a cis-white male in a position of privilege and power so I've invited another staff member to be present with me, or in place of my attendance, so you can feel comfortable to be fully present with each other and with our Jewish texts together.
I want to thank my colleagues across the country both for their strength and leadership and for telling me about how Project Dinah began on another campus long ago. As our namesake, Hillel the Elder asks, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?
You're invited to find community among your friends at Hillel.
firstname.lastname@example.org / @mattrvogel