2019 – 2020 Campus Fellow Recap

June 23rd, 2020


The Shamayim Campus Fellowship gives committed Jewish vegan, vegetarian and animal-loving college students the opportunity to take action and create change on their campuses. Enjoy this recap of awesome events our 2019 – 2020 fellows held for their communities all across college campuses in the United States!

Kara, a Shamayim campus fellow at George Washington University held an all-vegan Shabbat dinner in partnership with GW Hillel! They served food to around 50 students from a local vegan Israeli restaurant, along with sweet & delicious vegan challah from a local bakery. Discussion cards were provided at each table to prompt conversation around the connection between Judaism and veganism, and many students asked Kara questions about how her Judaism has affected her vegan journey.

Back in September, Grace & Hannah, our campus fellows at Princeton collaborated with their Hillel on a build your own Acai bowl event, and they had a line out the door! All of the ingredients were vegan and kosher (they ordered supplies from the only kosher place in town), students were shown how delicious healthy, vegan & kosher food can be.

It’s so important to show people that they can enjoy their traditional holiday foods (both Jewish and secular) more compassionately. That’s why Shaked, a Shamayim campus fellow, held a Vegan Thanksgiving in partnership with Stanford PAW, feeding 70 students a delicious plant-based meal.

Vegan fall-themed treats, you say? Our campus fellows, Hannah and Grace, held a snack and study break for their peers at Center for Jewish Life – Hillel at Princeton University! Students sampled homemade cider, pumpkin spice cold brews, treats from Abe’s, among other vegan snacks, and learned about Hannah and Grace’s upcoming events, a screening of the documentary, “To Live and Let Live” and tabling in the campus center showcasing local vegan eats. Introducing people to yummy plant-based foods is a great jumping point to start conversations about why our food choices matter.

Take a look at this fantastic plant-based spread! One of our fellows, Yoav at University of Michigan, hosted a buffet-style vegan Shabbat dinner (which he spent the day preparing) for about 40 of his peers and colleagues. The meal showcased lots of familiar foods (quiches, lasagna, bread, etc.) that people think “have to be” made with animal products. He shared some of his tips and tricks to vegan-izing certain foods (for challah, using coconut milk instead of water enhancing the fat content, compensating for the loss of egg yolk; JustEgg- a mung bean egg alternative is perfect to make quiches with; soaked cashews and the right mix of spices makes an excellent ricotta substitute). He made things that a lot of people didn’t realize would or could taste just as good (or even better in some people’s opinions!) than the non-vegan version. Yoav is also sharing vegan recipes with his community, and is thinking about running a few “demos” for small groups who are interested in learning more about vegan cooking! Hats off to Yoav and all of our fellows doing amazing work to spread compassion in their communities!

One of our campus fellows, Niaz at UCLA, held an excellent introductory and educational meeting at Hillel at UCLA. She spoke about Shamayim’s mission, the negative environmental impact of cattle farms, and the inhumane way animals are treated with her peers. Students were very receptive (with the help of some yummy vegan Trader Joe’s snacks), asking questions, and discussing ways they can make a difference through personal consumption choices! We’re so proud of our students spreading the message of compassion for all with others in their communities.

Jason, one of our campus fellows at Sarah Lawrence College, had an excellent day tabling sharing knowledge with students about veganism and getting them signed up to attend future events sponsored by Shamayim!

One of our incredible campus fellows, Talia at Johns Hopkins University, led a class for her peers on “the Jewish life of animals” with three main focus points: how we relate to animals as Jews, what we owe animals, and the Jewish laws on having animals as pets. Starting this conversation with students who are not vegan or vegetarian, along with serving some delicious plant-based soup, helped open their minds and hearts to advocating for animals as a Jewish responsibility. Many mentioned how it’s clear that eating animals is not ideal or even necessary in Judaism. Our fellows are doing such fantastic work to get members of their community to start thinking about animals in a different light!

Kara, one of our fellows at George Washington University, veganized her Hillel’s “Kaballah and Kreme” event, a weekly discussion between the rabbi or a resident facilitator about a topic through a Jewish lens, with a variety of delicious dairy-free ice creams! She helped lead a text study of two core Jewish sources that inspire vegan and environmental thinking, introducing the group to Jewish understandings of caring for the earth and animals, and to connect the values Shamayim represents.

Showing how easy it is to cook vegan food is such an essential part of introducing a compassionate lifestyle to others. That’s why Shaked at Stanford University held a vegan cooking workshop for his fellow students! Doing good for ourselves, the planet, and animals by eating plant-based is an intrinsically Jewish value. We’re so happy to see students across the country spreading this message of compassion with others through our fellowship program.

Falafel, vegan ice cream and cake, discussion about veganism and Judaism? Sounds like a great time to us! Rebecca and Jessy at Rutgers University co-hosted an event with two campus organizations, Scarlet Knights for Israel (SKFI) and Mishelanu, introducing 60 students to Shamayim’s mission of advocating for animals through a Jewish lens.

Our fellows are bringing vegan food and conversation to their campus communities! Nevia from Smith College prepared a vegan “honey” loaf with a group of mostly non-veg students, showing how easy it is to make plant-based versions of classic foods for the high holidays.

Jessy and Rebecca at Rutgers University held a Tu B’Shevat seder event in partnership with a JNF fellow and fellow vegan at the Rutgers Hillel, with some amazing food served, of course! They discussed the connection between sustainability and Judaism and shared how easy it is to adopt a vegan lifestyle. They distributed info about the significance of the fruit trees in Israel and discussed the purpose and point of why certain plants are consumed in honor of Tu B’Shevat. All the food provided was plant-based, with fruit, falafel, Israeli salad, pita bread, and hummus served. Incredible job getting your peers to think more deeply about their food choices, ladies!

Because of COVID-19, our campus fellowship has come to a close for the year, as most students are home and are finishing their studies remotely. One of our fellows, Yoav at the University of Michigan, shared these words of wisdom with his community after hosting a final vegan Shabbat dinner a few weeks back (with delicious vegan challah pictured here): “Activism during a time like this is very difficult. It is very different to interact with people primarily through social media or virtual meetings, but this means any in-person contact is especially valuable and impactful. Being with housemates or family members during this time has given me a chance to really talk about topics like sustainability and health, and how a plant-based lifestyle encapsulates my beliefs to bring about a better world. As we process and adjust to the changes in our daily lives, it’s important we take some of this time to evaluate our choices and make adjustments where we can to improve the future.”

Shaked, a Shamayim campus fellow, hosted a plant-based cooking workshop at Hillel at Stanford University in January to show his fellow students the ease and tastiness of vegan cooking! Providing hands-on experience with plant-based cooking is so essential when educating others about veganism. Hats off to Shaked for providing this empowering opportunity for his peers!

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