Hillel Milwaukee Executive Director Deb Fendrich laments the departure of a good friend.
Marquette University graduate Amanda Krahn said she feels like she is losing a sister.
Both say that Shaked Ram, a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, has made a lasting impact on college-age and young adult Jews in Milwaukee. Her exit last month after three years leaves a void in her brand of subtle and dynamic programming on the State of Israel, according to those who worked with her. Her presence in Milwaukee was funded in part by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Annual Campaign.
“She’s brought such a level of energy when it comes to Israel conversation,” Fendrich said. “She’s so nuanced with the way she talks about Israel, understanding that our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds.”
“She’s been amazing for Hillel Milwaukee,” said Krahn, who is continuing her graduate studies in physical therapy at Marquette. “Shaked has done amazing programs and made every student feel welcome and accepted. She really makes everyone feel at home.”
Ram, 28, said she will likely return to her work with at-risk children in Israel, for which she studied at Beit Berl College. Of her stint in Milwaukee, she said, “It has been a roller coaster of emotions of leaving home and moving all the way to the other side of the world to a place where I was immediately welcomed.”
“I was able to dream big and execute these dreams and engage with amazing students and the best staff ever,” she said.
Ram led Israel engagement and programs while at Hillel. Cultural education through Israeli cooking and baking was her specialty. “I brought my hobby into Hillel,” she said.
She accompanied college students to Israel on Birthright trips and led “Side by Side” Fellowship and Mission trips into Israel and the Palestinian territories for student leaders, Jewish and non-Jewish, from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette.
She has high praise for Hillel, the world’s largest Jewish student organization. “It’s an incredible organization that provides students a safe space and the ability to continue to explore their Judaism and connections to Israel,” she said.
Krahn said she is grateful for the emotional support Ram gave her, starting when she was a sophomore. “I was going through a rough patch at that time and she became that person I didn’t know I needed in my life. I truly believe you meet someone for a reason and I’m just glad she came into my life when she did.”
Ram said she will remember Hillel Milwaukee as “a family that welcomes everyone. And it doesn’t matter who you are. It will always be home for me. And I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here for the last three years.”
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Campuses served by Hillel Milwaukee
- Alverno College
- Cardinal Stritch University
- Carroll University
- Concordia University
- Marquette University
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Milwaukee Area Technical College
- Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
- Milwaukee School of Engineering
- Mount Mary University
- University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
- Waukesha County Technical College