Senior Awards at Berkeley Hillel

2024 Senior Award Winners

History of Senior Awards at Berkeley Hillel

Since 1995, the first year Hillel distributed Senior Awards more than 50 exemplary Cal Seniors have been recognized for thier commitment to building Jewish community and strengthening the future of the Jewish people.  We couldn’t be more proud of the young people who’ve helped make Berkeley Hillel the amazing place that it is!

What the Awards Recognize

Hineini  Award: This award is given to those students who heed the call of the community with energy, enthusiasm and a ready smile.  These students have been the pillars of Jewish life; they have been the cornerstone of the community’s work and celebration.  The Hineini  Award is presented to the student whose devotion and effort inspires others and allows our community to thrive. 

Nachshon Award: According to legend, when the Jews left Egypt and arrived at the Red Sea the waters did not part until they entered them.  The Israelites stood on the banks of the sea and argued, “You go first!”  “No, you go first!:”  Finally Nachshon Ben Aminadav walked into the water ahead of everyone else.  Only when the water reached his neck, did the sea part.  The Nachshon award is presented every year to an outstanding student leader who has demonstrated the qualities of the first Nachshon: A willingness to take the first step and show others the way.  

Rabbi Akiva award: Though he came to study Torah much later in life, Rabbi Akiva dedicated himself to Torah study with enthusiasm.  “All my learning is no more than like the fragrance of an Etrog; the one who scents it, enjoys it; but the Etrog loses nothing. Or it is as one who draws water from a spring, or lights a candle from a candle.” The Rabbi Akiva Award is presented to a student who has made extraordinary time for Jewish learning during their college year’s, approaching their learning with humility, impacting their Jewish growth and commitment as an emerging Jewish adult. 

Chazak Award: This award is given to the student group or initiative that has created a transformative experience for the Jewish students at Cal. Through their work they embody the values and commitment of Berkeley Hillel.  The Chazak Award recognizes the group whose energy, passion and focus strengthen the entire Hillel community. 

Please click HERE to see the list of past award recpients.

Senior Speakers

Each year a graduating senior is selected by their peers to share a drash with their classmates.  This is an opportunity for them to share their reflections and hopes for the graduating class.  These speeches have included profound wisdom and inspiration for our students.

Please click HERE to see a list of past speakers and read their speeches.