You Can Go Home Again
Andres Israel ’12 follows his passion back to Uruguay
by Tony Moore
July 14, 2013
Andres Israel '12 spends time at a beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay, with his dog, Enzo.
If you're from Uruguay and your passion happens to be advancing Jewish life, you've pretty much hit the jackpot becoming director of Hillel Uruguay a year after graduation. Welcome to the world of Andres Israel '12.
"It's a dream job for me," he says. "It's a job where I can really apply my potential and my passion."
To anyone who knew Israel at Dickinson, his passion comes as no great surprise, as the list of Jewish-related activities he undertook while here runs from serving as Dickinson's global ambassador to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to being vice president of the campus chapter of Hillel to founding Achim (Dickinson's first Jewish men's club).
"I wanted to truly enrich Jewish life on campus," Israel says. "My main goal was to create a space that could combine social life and Jewish life." Finding his own space when nearly 5,000 miles from home also became important to Israel, but he found the Asbell Center a welcoming second home.
"In college life, it's easy to forget your roots," he says. "And being an international student, one faces many challenges in terms of adaptation. But every day I went to the Asbell Center, and I found a place where I felt I was at home—with the same traditions that I practice at home, the same social codes and the same values. It was interesting to be so far away from home, but at the same time feel so close."
Now, as the director of Hillel Uruguay, Israel is creating that welcoming and nurturing environment in his home country. And as he did in founding Achim, Israel is bring something new to a realm rich with tradition.
"Younger generations want to create their own programs," he says. "So I'm changing Hillel to a new system in which young leaders present projects of their own—for example, Business Club, yoga, Architecture Club, soccer, Torah lessons—and we help them in making them come true. We want to empower the community by helping them do what they want."
Dickinson's Jewish-centered partner programs: Immersed in Israel
Previous profile of Andres Israel: A Second Family
Dickinson's expanded effort toward recruiting Jewish students: Looking Beyond