Our goal was to empower students to be change-makers and to provide them with a toolbox for engaged, open, and civil discourse.




Our strength was in the ability to create safe places in which hard issues can be addressed in collaboration with a wide spectrum of organizational partners.

News Archive

2019 Avi Schaefer Leadership Retreat Cohort Announced

May 2, 2019 – Santa Barbara, CA – The Avi Schaefer Fund (ASF) is proud to announce the 2019 Avi Schaefer Leadership Retreat (ASLR) Cohort participants. Now in its third year, the annual retreat brings together a diverse group of emerging Jewish leaders from across the US to engage with some of the most important questions facing our community today. This year’s cohort of 12 was selected after receiving nearly 50 highly competitive applications from public policy professionals, journalists, Jewish communal professionals, entrepreneurs and artists among others.

Please join us in congratulating the 2019 ASLR Cohort representing the New York, Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago and New England communities: Sheridan Bahar, Eloise Diaz Bahrmasel, Maia Ferdman, Chelsea Garbell, Evan Gottesman, Suzanne Greene, Ari Hoffman, Meredith Lewis, Danielle Natelson, Vince Pine, Arianna Skibell, Shira Telushkin.

McIntosh Earns National Recognition

Kevin McIntosh, coordinator of Campus Interfaith Resources, was recognized for his work on campus by a national Jewish foundation dedicated to empowering young people.

McIntosh was among 10 recipients of the 2019 Avi Schaefer Fund “Seek Peace and Pursue It” Awards. The Avi Schaefer Fund annually recognizes university students, faculty and staff members who are considered changemakers.

McIntosh was nominated for the award by Allison Egrin, president of Grand Valley’s Hillel chapter. Egrin said McIntosh’s impact on campus has not gone unnoticed.

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.