Former Jewish Studies Minor Nominated for LAS Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Ellie Spitz Nominated for LAS award

Date

04/18/18

Ellie graduated with a minor in Jewish Studies in 2011, went on to earn an MSW, and has been with the Chicago-based, vision-driven Jewish group Mishkan for three and a half years. Mishkan seeks to build Jewish community through holding shabbat and high holy day services and to foster social justice through organizing for refugees and providing other services. A new and important aspect of Mishkan that Ellie spearheaded is the Wellness Center. 

It was through minoring in Jewish Studies that Ellie learned about the full, broad, rich history of Jews and Judaism. Until she took a course on the Jews of Spain, she told [Brett Kaplan], she had not yet fully appreciated the global nature of Jewish history and culture. Through our program, she learned about Jews in Israel, in Spain, in America, in many places in the world. She also began learning Hebrew and discovered how hard it is to fully master! Through her work at Mishkan Ellie uses the depth of knowledge acquired here and the Hebrew she began learning; she connects with many in the Mishkan community who feel that they (“learned” in air quotes) Hebrew in Sunday school and struggle to learn it more fully as adults. 

Ellie has worked with many vibrant programs at Mishkan and now devotes about half of her time to the Wellness Center. This Center helps people who turn to religion for help with mental health issues by being a place that can make connections between people in need of help and Rabbis or other religious leaders as well as mental health experts such as therapists and counselors. This outstanding leadership role directly improves the lives of people suffering from mental illness of all kinds and gets to the core of Mishkan’s values.

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