New Rabbi, CEO begins at UF Hillel
Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 at 2:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 25, 2014 at 2:46 p.m.
University of Florida Hillel welcomed a new rabbi and chief executive officer earlier this month.
Rabbi Adam Grossman
Role: Chief Executive Officer, University of Florida Hillel, serving between 8,000 and 10,000 Jewish students at Santa Fe College and UF
Family: Wife, Amy; two daughters, ages 7 and 5; and a newborn son
Education: Master of Arts and ordained Rabbi from Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati; master’s in education, Xavier University; bachelor’s in communications, Ohio State University.
Rabbi Adam Grossman moved with his wife, Amy, their three children and their Dalmatian, Koufax, to Gainesville for the chance to be a part of the largest Jewish-student campus population in the nation.
“The opportunity to really inspire and hopefully build … a space to create a meaningful impact was just too hard to pass up,” Grossman said.
Grossman previously worked at Temple Israel in Memphis.
UF Hillel is an opportunity to help students and individuals find college in the Jewish way, said Grossman, who began his new position July 7.
“A lot of different people connect with their Judaism in different ways,” he said. “My goal is to help every individual who walks through our home find a purpose, and not just for these four years.”
Because, he said, college lasts a lifetime.
“You’re always a Gator, and we want students to know that we’re here for a lifetime,” he added.
Every Friday night, a free Shabbat dinner is open to anyone on campus, no matter their background.
In Judaism, Shabbat is a time to spend with family and friends, and UF Hillel hopes to engage and encourage individuals to find a space where they know they’re welcome.
Grossman said another big purpose for the organization is to increase the number of individuals who choose to go on the Birthright experience, a low-cost trip to Israel for Jewish students.
“We want more people to connect with each other and to connect with Hillel by expanding the trip to Israel,” Grossman said.
Earlier this month, about 10 members of Hillel began minor renovations of the building.
The team has been painting, moving furniture and redoing the outside.
The work is expected to be completed by Aug. 29.
The job has given students a sense of ownership, he said.
“It shows that it’s not our building; it’s the students’ building,” Grossman said.
He said he’s excited to be a facilitator in inspiring individuals to find a connection in their lives.
Through this project, he said, they are rethinking, reimagining and reconnecting with UF Hillel.
“We’re doing it all with our bare hands,” he added.