Shabbat with Columbia University and Kiddush in the Round

December 16, 2023    
9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Visit from Columbia Campus

Saturday, Dec. 16, during services, about 11:00 am, followed by a sit-down Kiddush in the Round luncheon.

Yakov Shapiro, the Israeli Shaliah to Columbia University Hillel, and Daniella Symonds, an Israeli student at Columbia, will be speaking from the bimah about the post-10/7 reality on campus, antisemitism and the surprising anti-Israel protests.

Yakov Shapiro was born and raised in Israel to parents who immigrated in 1991 from the Soviet Union (Belarus, Minsk). His experience as a Jewish\Israel educator started in Ukraine, Cherkassy in 2016. For almost 5 years he has flown there twice a year to promote and develop the Jewish community.

In 2021, Yakov joined Columbia/Barnard Hillel’s team as the Israel Fellow. In his position, he manages relationships & communicating with wide ranging personalities and diverse cultural groups including Americans, Israelis & Russians. Through those relationships the students are deepening their Jewish identities and strengthening their connections to Israel.

From 2012-2015, he served in the Israeli Air Force as an intelligence specialist. B.A. graduated in International Relations & Communications in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and recently M.A. graduated in Public Policy in Tel Aviv University.

Outside of the office you can find him running in Central Park with the Front Runners Club, doing yoga and cooking!

Daniella Symonds was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to an Australian father and a mother of Greek and Turkish heritage. Two days after her high school graduation, she flew to Israel with a one-way ticket to attend Ein Prat: The Academy for Leadership, an elite year-long pre-military academy for Israeli high school graduates. As one of only three international students, Daniella became deeply intertwined and integrated within Israeli society, ultimately achieving fluency in Hebrew.

At Ein Prat, Daniella served as the physical fitness instructor, responsible for training her comrades, many of whom went on to enlist as elite combat soldiers in units such as Sayeret Matkal, Duvdevan, Egoz, Tzanchanim, and the pilot’s course.

Upon graduating from Ein Prat, Daniella enlisted as a lone soldier in the IDF. She served as a combat soldier and medic in the Search and Rescue Brigade of the Home Front Command and was released early this year. During her service, she applied to Columbia University between missions, drawn to the institution’s strong veteran community. Now a first-year student at Columbia, Daniella is studying political science and business management, with hopes of pursuing a JD/MBA.


After services, stay for a sit-down Kiddush luncheon!

While RSVPs are not required for services and there is no charge for the sit-down lunch, we ask that all those planning to stay for Kiddush RSVP HERE so we can be sure to have enough space and food for all attending.