OU Collegiate Partnership Named National Jewish Hero Honoree

22 Dec 2011


Hart Levine, Founder and National Director of The Heart to Heart Project

Hart Levine, founder and director of The Heart to Heart Project — a program in partnership with OU Collegiate Engagement — was recently selected as a Jewish Community National Hero Honoree, from the Jewish Federations of North America. Hart’s win followed an online vote, resulting in 20 semifinalists; four National Honorees; one “Federation Hero;” and The “2011 Hero of the Year.”

Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, OU Director of Collegiate Engagement, explained, “Heart to Heart is an independent grass roots movement of active Jewish students sharing the beauty of Torah Judaism with non-active Jewish students who are living in their dorms and attending the same classes — friends sharing what they love with their friends. Many of the active students are NCSY alumni and yeshiva/day school graduates who participate in the OU’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC).” JLIC places Orthodox Jewish rabbinic couples to serve as Torah Educators within the Hillels on 15 college campuses in the United States and Canada, and thereby bridging campus life with Torah life.

Hart Levine earned his Bachelor’s in Science in Bioengineering from of the University of Pennsylvania, which has a strong JLIC program. The newlywed recently began his rabbinical studies at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), in addition to his fulltime position at Heart to Heart. A graduate of New York’s Ramaz School and Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, Hart embraced the vibrant Jewish life of Penn as an active participant in JLIC.

In addition to the honor, a financial reward was granted, that according to Hart, “will be put directly towards having more Heart to Heart Shabbat dinners on campuses. This semester alone, more than 855 students have attended Heart to Heart meals across 17 campuses, and more funding allows us to reach more students on more campuses.”

Rabbi Dave shared, “We are very happy to see Hart Levine and the Heart to Heart project getting national recognition. Hart is a very real Hero in the eyes of hundreds of college students and we are very excited to see even more great accomplishments in the future as he is just getting started!”

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