Marcella Bluth
Marcella Bluth, a senior majoring in communications at Wayne State University, was named the Elaine C. Driker Award recipient via Zoom at a recent Hillel of Metro Detroit Board of Governors meeting. (Photo courtesy of Hillel of Metro Detroit)

This is a special to the Jewish News.

Looking back at my involvement with Hillel of Metro Detroit seems odd because it is like looking back at all my encounters with my family. Family is there to challenge you, encourage you, and guide you into the person you are meant to be. I know it seems cliché, but the encouragement and support of my Hillel family has helped shape me into the woman I am today, and for this I am grateful.

Through Hillel, I have been a part of J-talk, Students for Israel, Jewish Student’s Organization, and the Israel Fellowship to name a few. As of last year, I became the president of the Jewish Student Organization and started the Girl’s Night program at Wayne after receiving a grant of $4000 from The Jewish Women’s Fund for these programs. I also founded and coordinated Green is the New Black, Detroit’s first ever sustainable living fashion show. The fashion show spread awareness about sustainable fashion, worked with local Detroit businesses and students, inspired people to find their passion projects pertaining to sustainability, and demonstrated how to give back to one’s community; over 200 people attended this event.

Drive and resilience, (a nicer word for stubbornness) go hand in hand. What keeps my vision intact is by looking at what is already there and building on it. There is a small, budding Jewish community in Detroit which taught me the meaning of dedication towards stepping up and making the community great. It is never easy to be the first, but when you believe in the cause of re-populating the Jewish community in Detroit, you find the drive and motivation. My boyfriend (Jeremy Rosenberg) and I have taken the Jewish future of Detroit into our own hands.

In addition to building that community on campus, we realized that it is just as important to root and build that community off campus. We do this through Hillel’s Shabbat programs to host shabbat dinners and lunches. Cooking for dozens of Jewish college students is never easy; however, seeing another Jew feel welcome and wanting to be a part of the Jewish community in Detroit is incredible and makes it worth the effort. That’s what drives me, knowing that I am actively contributing to my future.

I have many favorite moments. Each experience matures my understanding of what it means to be a Jew and how to give back to my community. That being said, a defining moment for me occurred a few months ago when a few students and I were meeting with a potential donor. He asked us, “If I could help give you guys anything, what would you ask for?” After much discussion, the conclusion was that we didn’t need anything at that time. I realized then that I helped create an infrastructure that previously did not exist and was now self-sustainable. This edified the reality that my work ethic and goals were successful. It also increased my drive and helped me realize that I have only just begun.

Marcella Bluth, a senior majoring in communications at Wayne State University, was
named the Elaine C. Driker Award recipient via Zoom at a recent Hillel of Metro Detroit
Board of Governors meeting. The Elaine C. Driker Award acknowledges a Hillel of
Metro Detroit student who has demonstrated a commitment to Jewish life in Detroit.

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