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10 personalities you find at your local Hillel

hillelA Field Guide to the Vildechayas of Hillel

Guest post By Chaim Leib Kleinman

Hillel is the epicenter of collegiate Jewish life. Maybe it used to be the place to meet goys and eat treif, but things have changed. It’s good to know what sorts of people you’ll run into (and should avoid like tzaraas) at Hillel. Here’s a comprehensive field guide of the different personality types you’ll see at your local Hillel.

1) The Off-The-Derech guy:
He knows where to put the tof and sof. He davens with a shtark ashkenaz nusach only to be found in the Jewish ghettoes of Brooklyn. If you ask where he went to yeshiva , his answer will indicate there is no way in gehenom that he owned a TV growing up. But after shana bet or gimel in that super Charedi yeshiva in Israel, something snapped. The black velvet yarmulke comes off after shul, and you can be sure you’ll see him eating hot dairy out (which, according to his parents, is as good as pork.)

2) The Yeshiva Bochur: (Also known as the flaming BT.)
Whether he was raised Modox or secular, as far as hes concerned, he’s now the new Hillel rabbi. He’s the freshman that starts gesticulating wildly and yelling profanities in davanese when you rip some challah off before they said Hamotzi at Shabbat dinner. He always does the davar, and he’s the one rushing Shabbos lunch before all the guys leave so he can daven Mincha. By sophomore or junior year, after he’s gone to a few parties on Shabbos and made out with a few shiksas, he tends to mellow out a bit.

3) The feminist: she runs/starts rosh chodesh club, insists on egalitarian services (even when there aren’t enough people for an egal minyan), and insists that a girl makes Hamotzi (at the distress of the yeshiva bochur). But she can’t lose, because the (obviously very liberal) Hillel rabbi will automatically take her side, because G-d forbid Hillel should be taken over by frummies.

4) The Jewish Hillbilly: he/she probably grew up in the Bible Belt where being Jewish is a sin and having kosher food is assur. Maybe he/she was the only Jew in his/her school. Seeing all these Jews and kosher food in one place may be overwhelming at first. Guide him/her slowly, and be understanding if he/she has no clue that you’re supposed to shut up before Hamotzi. Besides, he/she could be Sephardi; you never know.

5) The New Yorker: the stark contrast to the Jewish hillbilly: you can bet your bottom dollar (if it weren’t assur) that this person will complain for all of freshman year. There aren’t any good kosher pizza places open motzei Shabbos. There are only two orthodox shuls in the whole town, where there were ten on his/her block in NY. Give him/her some space to rough it in the wild– and don’t tell him/her that you had only one orthodox shul in your city back home; it won’t help.

6) The Egal Orthodox Girl: Shira hadadsha is the name of the game. She probably grew up conservative or modox. She probably studied at Pardes, the Chilul Hashem that masquerades as a learning institution. Has no shame in ripping people from the “real orthodox minyan” so she can carry out her apikoris schemes. Probably never gets a minyan more than once a semester (because getting twenty people together to daven AND getting enough women to lein is damn near impossible.) She has everything bad to say about “mainstream Orthodoxy,” (yeah, she’s probably a hipster) but staunchly refuses to leave the real Jews alone and join the Conservative minyan.

7)The Hillel Mom: Also known as Jewish guilt incarnate, which translates to recruiting in Jewish nonprofits. Did you know there’s Jewish yoga on Thursday night? Did you know about the Ethiopian Israeli speaker Tuesday lunch? We really need more people for the Wednesday parsha class. So in case all those phone calls from mom making sure you’re doing Jewish stuff and not dating goyim weren’t enough, this girl won’t take no for an answer. That’s why they recruited (read: guilt tripped) her to Hillel board in the first place. But if you come to these events? She loves you to pieces and gives you plenty of positive reinforcement (read: free food) to ensure that you come back. Isn’t that good, Jewish loving?

8) The Obnoxious Couple:
The one guy and girl that managed to accomplish what you come to Hillel to do in the first place: get laid. Oh, there’s no doubt that they’re doing it. That couch in the Hillel building that everybody does it on? They’ve done it at least five times there, and in the rabbi’s office, too. Everybody pretends they think it’s cute, grumbles about excessive PDAs, and secretly wishes it was them.

9) The Flirt: isn’t that everybody? But really. This girl is here to get laid/married, and makes no bones about it. All the not-so-covert comments about double mitzvah on Friday night make everybody internally groan. She probably came from a frum background and has no clue how to talk to guys because boys were just as assur as red shirts were at her Bais Yaakov school. Give her a break; she’ll either get over it or start dating an AEPi brother. (Please note that people like this are the next generation of hot chanis.)

10) The Goy: Hillel’s mission statement says nothing about serving Jews, so it’s kosher, right? He may be someone’s roommate who came for the free Shabbat dinner, or the Judeophile who wants to bang a hot Bais Yaakov… well… you know what I’m referring to. Or, he may be dating one of your friends. Lastly this person may secretly want to convert. Ya never know with goyim; guess they’re not all the same?

Behatzlacha, rabbosai! Be careful of these types–you don’t want to mess up your perfect shidduch resume by interacting with them too much. Oh, wait, you already did; you went to college and didnt stay in Yeshiva to learn full-time. Jokes on you.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • PostFFB December 31, 2013, 7:09 AM

    I feel like this describes most Hillels out side of NYC down to a t. I find the crowd is a bit more diverse and not as obnoxious at the Chabad on campuses I have been to

  • ha no December 31, 2013, 8:56 AM

    this is a poor attempt at humor by some condescending but unsophisticated frumster. nice try.

    • Anonymous December 31, 2013, 2:34 PM

      Nice, so true.

    • Dave January 1, 2014, 7:39 PM

      Lighten up, Francis. It’s FrumSATIRE

  • Hillel Is Better Than Phony Empty Judaism Anyday December 31, 2013, 9:15 AM

    The “vilde chaya” (wild animal) is the writer of this post. It is not humorous, it is hatred disguised as humor. One can tell that he is a judgmental young man raised frum, who wishes he could enjoy the freedom, diversity and joy in religion that the Hillel offers. What is sad is that he pretends on the outside to be religious but on the inside is a hateful SOB – the passive aggressiveness is showing.

    A true religious person embraces others, rather than speaking evil and judging everyone for the bad.

    G-d sees all, including the fact that most people criticize others because they themselves feel so inadequate and lack confidence. Let’s hope this person gains a greater understanding of his own identity, tolerance for his own humanity and that of others, and faith in the true Almighty.

    • You sound like one hateful MFer December 31, 2013, 11:22 AM

      Man, do I sense some hating or what. The best way to tell someone that you yourself are a hater is to hate on them, your comment could have been constructive, but instead you sound like an extremely bitter person. I sense that if you pull the plunger out of your tuchus, you will live a much more productive and stress free life.

      • Anonymous February 3, 2014, 11:51 PM

        [LIKE] (and a bonus LIKE for “pull the plunger out of your tuchus”)

    • I was in Hillel January 1, 2014, 12:15 PM

      Um… I was in Hillel and I loved this post. He’s just joking. You know what joke is? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joke

    • Marion January 1, 2014, 2:30 PM

      This site is Jewish SATIRE!

  • Dave December 31, 2013, 9:28 AM

    I recall a few more types from my own college days, though these may be extinct now:

    The Bored Jewish Princess – mommy guilts her into attending Hillel events, but she would rather be out shtupping goyishe fraternity guys. She goes to Boca (back in the day, it was Miami) for Jewish holidays instead of celebrating chagim at Hillel. She starts all her conversations with “My favorite boutique in Greenwich Village…”

    IDF Wannabe – Most pro-Zionistic of Hillel types, spent summer teen tour in Israel and got the idealistic aliyah/IDF bug. Wears green camo pants and black crew-necks all the time. The females are straight but look butch, and don’t shave their pits or legs. The guys want to burn their US passports as soon as they get to the Nefesh B’Nefesh office.

    The Sorority/Fraternity Crossover – lost election for VP or president of their Jewish fraternity or sorority, so they figure the next best resume-builder is (trying for) Hillel chapter officer. Was a USY or BBYO macher in high school, and also carries a clipboard listing accomplishments and qualifications for next open Hillel position. Brown-noses the wealthy donor local Hillel board-members to get internships and investment banking jobs after graduation.

    • Person December 31, 2013, 4:59 PM

      I think yours are more accurate for most universities. The ones OP listed can only be applied to the NY-area colleges.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2013, 11:20 AM

    Let’s remember the kid who frummed out in chabad and now feels the need to poach those going to Hillel to try and show them the light of chabad.

    • Dave January 1, 2014, 7:47 PM

      Ha! I know a guy kinda like that. Went to Hebrew School with him. First Hillel, then mekareved by Chabad. He now lives in Crown Heights and has eight children. I kid you not.

  • Talia bat Pessi December 31, 2013, 11:23 AM

    I literally am half of these.

    • the real ms December 31, 2013, 12:00 PM

      Hi Talia, do you mean literaly literally or literally as in not literally?

      • Talia bat Pessi December 31, 2013, 4:44 PM

        Literally literally. I could be classified as #3, #5, #6, #7, and #9, although my very kindly friend assured me that I am none of them.

  • Yosef Shomron January 1, 2014, 5:28 AM

    You forgot the “zionist activist”. My wife and I met as fellow zionist activists at the ASU campus Hillel in the early 80’s. Our group (Israel Action Commttee) was the only active group in the Hillel – setting up a table in the middle of the campus of the 5th largest Univ. in the US, complete with Israeli flag, hasbara and lots of arguments with local arab groups. The Hillel is still run by the same reform “rabbi”. Shortly after my wife and I became hozrim b’tshuvah, made aliyah, were blessed with 7 children, and have lived in Israel for over 20 years. (BTW we also had goyim in our group – they were the ones who weren’t embarrassed to argue: the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews because G-d gave it to us).

  • Dan January 1, 2014, 6:32 AM

    This is really good. I saw most of these in my day. Of course, the “Dan” isn’t listed here.

    • Yochanan January 1, 2014, 12:30 PM

      Is “Dan” a Hillel personality? Please explain.

  • Alter Cocker January 1, 2014, 3:19 PM

    Seems like the feminist and the egal orthodox girl could be grouped together.

  • anon January 2, 2014, 10:15 AM

    i went to cornell- this almost exactly describes it

  • Klutz January 6, 2014, 12:16 PM

    Heshy, have you been to Pardes? We totally have the #6 girl, more like a couple of them!

  • Terp March 13, 2014, 3:48 PM

    UMD College Park has ALL of these. 100% accurate.

  • sdfaf July 19, 2017, 9:06 AM

    No, you’re hating on people who lovingly write gently mocking satirical articles about what they care about because you have no sense of humor.

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