Matt Vogel

My Reluctant Expertise

I’ve become an expert in campus antisemitism when alI I wanted to do was buy people some coffee and chat about why being Jewish is cool.
I’ve become an expert in Executive Order 13899 and Title VI of Civil Rights laws when all we did was listen to Jewish students when they were feeling harassed and supported their battles to be recognized as equals.
I’ve become an expert in crisis management because of COVID and egregious antisemitism and conflict and war and response when all I do is show up for work each day as the Executive Director of a Hillel on a college campus.
I’ve become an expert in empathy and receptiveness as students relay their traumatic experiences to me with a level of trust they don’t exhibit with other adults.
I don’t want to be good at any of these things but it’s my reluctant expertise.
So I’ll continue to look for the things that inspire me as a Hillel professional.
The students who are resilient.
The students who are brave.
The smell of challah from the ovens in the kitchen.
The sounds of laughter from students in the Hillel lounge.
The students who are able to study, and learn, and fight, and advocate, and stand up for other Jewish students when some days I’m too tired to stand on my own two feet.
Tonight before Shabbat, I’ll stand on their shoulders.
About the Author
Matt Vogel is the Executive Director of Hillel at the University of Vermont and has spent his career supporting Jewish students on campus.
Related Topics
Related Posts