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KU Hillel’s hosts first ever Mr. Hillel competition

KU Mr. Hillel participants include Gabe Herstig (from left), Max Gendler, Mike Johnson, Joel Gutovitz, Will Cohen and Jacob Milgrim.

On April 26, KU Hillel hosted its first ever Mr. Hillel competition where six Jewish men participated in various activities that were ranked and voted on by student audience members. From stand-up comedy to trumpet and guitar performances to an original rap song written about Hillel and Judaism, the talent portion of the evening proved to be quite entertaining.

“My favorite part of the evening was definitely watching all of the guys come out of their shells and show off their talents,” sophomore Emily Ruben said. 

Along with the talent portion of the evening, contestants participated in a fashion show focusing on, “what one should wear to his in-laws for Shabbat” followed by a question and answer session. 

Mr. Hillel is a perfect example of KU Hillel’s mission to empower Jewish students to bring new initiatives to life and seniors Zahava Davis, Melanie Edwards and Nicki Stoller did just that by planning and hosting this event. “I read online that Hillel at UCLA had done a Mr. Hillel competition and after reading more about the program, I thought it would be a perfect event to bring to KU. I remember bringing the idea to Melissa Kingston, KU Hillel’s Program Director, and she told me to run with the idea and I am so glad we did, because it was so entertaining for all those that attended,” Edwards said. 

Davis, Edwards and Stoller did everything from recruiting participants to compete, decorating Hillel’s space, emceeing the event and coordinating ticket sales. One hundred percent of ticket sales were donated to an important cause chosen by the winner. Sophomore Joel Gutovitz was named the first ever Mr. (KU) Hillel winner and chose to donate his winning proceeds to Camp Simcha, an overnight summer camp for Jewish children and teens with chronic illnesses and disabilities. 

“We hope this program will continue on in future years. It was such a fun program and such an easy way to give back to an important cause,” Edwards concluded.