URI student film on Holocaust to be screened at upcoming events, added to state genocide education

URI Today

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 28, 2019 – A short film on the Holocaust by student filmmakers at the University of Rhode Island will be screened at some high-profile events in the coming weeks –and will become one of the education resources available as part of Rhode Island’s mandated genocide education for secondary school students.

“The Fence Between Us” will get its URI premiere Monday, April 1, at the Norman M. Fain Hillel Center on the Kingston campus. The film will also be shown during the 35th annual Statewide Interfaith Commemoration of the Holocaust on May 1 at Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.

Avi Shabbat Interfaith dinner connected students of different faiths

Central Michigan Life written by Hannah Franco

What do you get when you put students of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths into a room together?

A lively room filled with laughter, smiles and positive discussion about faith and its meaning to those practicing, according to the Avi Shabbat Interfaith dinner at the Wesley Methodist Church.

Hillel at Central Michigan University co-hosted the Avi Shabbat Interfaith dinner on March 22 alongside the Muslim Student Association and Wesley at CMU.

2019 Seek Peace and Pursue It Award Press Release

The Avi Schaefer Fund (ASF) is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Avi Schaefer Seek Peace and Pursue It Award, honoring students, academic faculty, staff, or university administrators who have stood up in a public way for peace, justice, and compassion on their college campus. These outstanding campus changemakers share, express, and put into action the values that Avi Schaefer, z”l, lived.

Fostering dialogue through Shabbat dinner

Union College

On Friday, Feb. 8, Hillel and the Muslim Student Association will host the ninth annual Avi Schaefer Shabbat at Union.

“This Muslim Jewish Dialogue Dinner is an amazing event open to students, staff and community members of all faiths and backgrounds,” says Hannah Ellen ’19, Hillel social justice chair, who has helped lead and champion the dinner since coming to Union.

“I’m very grateful that we have this event at Union,” said Uma Kalsoom ’19, co-president of the Muslim Students Association, who has been involved since her sophomore year. “It’s a perfect opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue about relevant world issues that affect both Muslims and Jews.”

Avi Shabbat 2018 Grants, Awards, and Gratitude

ASF thanks all the campuses that joined us for Avi Shabbat 2018!

 American University Hillel

*Arizona State University Hillel

*Baruch, John Jay, and City College Hillels

Binghamton Hillel 

*Boston University Hillel

Brandeis Hillel

Brody Jewish Center – Hillel at University of Virginia

Brown RISD Hillel

Calgary Hillel 

Central Michigan Hillel

Colorado State University Hillel 

Dartmouth Hillel

Davis and Sacramento Hillel 

Emory Hillel

Franklin and Marshall Hillel

George Mason Hillel

Goucher Hillel and Goucher Interfaith Council

Hillel 818

Hofstra University Hillel

Houston Hillel

Ithaca College

*Lehigh University Hillel and the University Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

*Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Hillel

Metro Detroit Hillel

Michigan State University Hillel

Middlebury College Hillel

*Milwaukee Hillel 

NC State Hillel

Northeastern Hillel

Northwestern Hillel

Ohio State University (OSU) Hillel

Oregon State Hillel, Oregon Hillel Foundation

Santa Barbara Hillel

SF Hillel and I-Team

Silicon Valley Hillel 

Southern Maine Hillel

Stony Brook Hillel

SUNY Geneseo Hillel

Susquehanna University Hillel

Syracuse University Hillel 

The College of Charleston Hillel/JSU

Towson University Hillel

*Trinity College Hillel

Tulane Hillel

U Penn Hillel

UC San Diego Hillel

UNC-Chapel Hill Hillel

*Union College Hillel

University of Connecticut Hillel

University of Delaware Hillel

University of Georgia (UGA) Hillel 

*University of Illinois Hillel: Margie K. and Louis N. Cohen Center for Jewish Life

University of Miami Hillel

University of Rhode Island Hillel

University of Rochester Hillel

University of Southern California Hillel

*Virginia Tech Hillel 

Wellesley College Hillel

Westchester, Pace University Hillel

Inaugural Avi Schaefer Seek Peace and Pursue It Award Recipients

Alana Kessler (American University Graduate School 2018), Amr Acoub (Trinity College 2018),

Ashley Schnaar (Michigan State University 2018), Dr. Elizabeth Sink (Colorado State University),

Dr. Melanie Wilson (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Emerson Finkle (University of Rochester 2019), Hannah Ellen (Union College Hillel 2019), Merall Sherif (Colorado State University 2020),

Miriam Roochvarg (NC State 2018), Uma Kalsoom (Union College 2019)

ASF Inspirational Grantees*

Arizona State University, Baruch College, Boston University, Lehigh University

Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Hillel Milwaukee, Trinity College, Union College

University of Illinois, Virginia Tech

For more information about ASF programs, grants, or partnerships, or to learn more about Avi, please email us at

Executive director of Hillel at ASU elected president of campus interfaith group

Jewish News written by Jeff Kronenfeld

The Council of Religious Advisors at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus elected Debbie Yunker Kail, executive director of Hillel at ASU, as its new president.

Made up of professionals from campus faith-based organizations, CORA offers member organizations a platform to engage with each other and university leadership. It assists in orientations for incoming students, including more than 40 day-long orientations held throughout the summer, and helps students find religious counseling and volunteer opportunities, as well as holding spiritual awareness fairs on campus. CORA councils exist on each of ASU’s four campuses; the Tempe council is the largest with 31 member organizations, including Hillel, Jewish Arizonans on Campus and Chabad at ASU.

Winners of the Inaugural Avi Schaefer Seek Peace and Pursue It Awards Announced


June 4, 2018 – Santa Barbara, CA – The Avi Schaefer Fund (ASF) is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Avi Schaefer Seek Peace and Pursue It Awards, to recognize campus changemakers who share, express, and put into action the values that Avi lived. The award honors students, academic faculty or administrators who have stood up in a public way for peace, justice, and compassion on their college campus.

Union recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion

Union College

Union has again been named a winner of a HEED Award by Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

This marks the fifth straight year the school has been honored by the magazine, which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Gili Getz’s Forbidden Conversation

Jewish Journal written by Ryan Torok

Writer and actor Gili Getz performs his one-man, one-act play that explores the American-Jewish community’s difficulty with discussing Israel in an honest way. A former Israeli military photographer, Getz stages his performance as part of Avi Shabbat, a Shabbat dinner held on college campuses that honors the life of Avi Schaefer, who served in the Israeli army and was struck and killed by a drunken driver in 2010. A Shabbat dinner and discussion will follow the performance. 6 p.m. Free. Loyola Marymount University, St. Roberts Auditorium.

Diversity Shabbat dinner fosters intercultural discussion

The Brown and White written by Andre Verduzco

In the early hours of February 12, 2010, Avi Schaefer was killed by a drunk driver while walking back to campus at Brown University.

To keep Schaefer’s memory alive, his family started the Avi Schaefer fund, which aims to foster discussion among groups that often don’t communicate with one another. Schaefer had hopes of creating dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian people.



Help us continue to carry Avi's legacy. Make a contribution today.



Join our community of open minded, compassionate, committed people.



Resources to enhance ASF programs. Resource development is ongoing.


Symposium Videos

View our archive of top scholars who shared their wisdom with ASF.