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“Ask Big Questions” Launches at Hofstra

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Jewish Life at Hofstra

Hofstra Chosen as One of Five New Campuses

Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York – Hofstra University has been chosen by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life to launch “Ask Big Questions” (ABQ), a national program that brings together college students to discuss challenging issues. Hofstra is one of just 19 campuses nationwide chosen to host an ABQ program.

The University was recognized “because of the incredible work of Hofstra Hillel,” according to Wayne L. Firestone, Hillel President and CEO.  Hofstra Hillel Executive Director and member of the Interfaith Center Rabbi Dave Siegel applied to bring the ABQ Fellowship Program to campus. Firestone said Hofstra Hillel’srich and varied programming, and its appeal to a wide cross section of students, made the University’s application stand out.

“It is truly an honor for Hofstra Hillel to be awarded the Ask Big Questions Fellowship.” Rabbi Siegel said.  “Engaging in meaningful discussions with people of different backgrounds and belief systems is a major part of the college experience.  I am confident that this program will leave a lasting impression on our students and the entire Hofstra University community.” Hillel has named Rabbi Siegel as the program advisor.

ABQ is a national initiative that brings diverse groups of people together on college campuses for conversation about life’s big questions.  The initiative is sponsored by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and involves and serves individuals of all backgrounds regardless of religious traditions, cultural heritage, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and personal or political beliefs.  These “Big Questions” range from everyday, challenges to such universal questions as:

•  Epistemology – what do we know about our world.

• Ontology – what is our role while we are here.

• Eschatology – where do we go when we die.

The goal of ABQ is to create a community of students at campuses across the country and spark reflective conversation. Advisors, participants, and their staffs are trained in dialogue facilitation, relationship-based engagement and, strategies to use social media for social change.  The ABQ program began in the 2011-12 academic year on 14 campuses. Hofstra was among 5 colleges and universities chosen to launch ABQ in fall 2012.

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