Social Justice – Tzedek

College students want to change the world. They are volunteering in under-developed nations. They are saving lives through bone marrow donations. They are planting trees, volunteering in soup kitchens, and raising money for charity. Hillel of San Diego is here to give our students the tools to repair the world.

Alternative Breaks

Hillel of San Diego’s alternative break programs give Jewish students the opportunity to immerse themselves in domestic and global communities in order to learn about and actively engage in social justice issues. This summer, nine UCSD students traveled to El Salvador with American Jewish World Service for an intensive Jewish service learning experience. In the months leading up to the trip, the participants learned about the history of the country, the impact of the US on El Salvador and how to be conscientious visitors. Participants also learned about the local partner NGO, Eco Viva. The service project involved the construction of composting latrines, which convert human waste to usable material in a sustainable way. One of the participants, Maayan Yakir, wrote a blog about her experience detailing the volunteer service and Jewish learning. We thank Price Charities for their support of this program. To learn more visit 

Mitzvah Day

Each year, Hillel at SDSU partners with service organizations throughout San Diego County for Mitzvah Day, a Jewish-led day of social action. This year over 100 we had over 100 volunteers. Students volunteered throughout San Diego, including a cleanup of the San Diego River, serving meals at the San Diego Rescue Mission, home repairs for community members, and challah baking and crafting at the Ronald McDonald House. This year we had special alumni projects in San Diego and Los Angeles. Alumni volunteered at the San Diego Peace Garden and Jewish Family Service food warehouse in Los Angeles.

Embrace-a-Family

Each Hanukkah, Hillel’s students and staff sponsor several families through Jewish Family Service’s Embrace-a-Family program. This year our students raised money to buy generous gifts for several families and the Hillel staff holiday party focused on giving back.