South Dakota State University’s Hillel affiliate, B’rith Sholom is more than the only Jewish cultural club in the entire state; its nine members constitute a unique diversity among America’s Jewish organizations, since about half of them identify as Messianic Jews, or those who engage in Jewish practices and accept Jesus as the Messiah.
Messianic Jews have historically been excluded from nearly every Jewish denomination and institution, even the most inclusive. Yet B’rith Sholom insists on its policy that all should be welcome.
The club began when Tim Hanna, a self-described “traditionalist” Jew, came to South Dakota State in 2010 following 11 years of active military service, in pursuit of a master’s degree in communication studies. He was also seeking, he said, “a little space.”
Hanna readily accepted the challenges of living an observant life in Brookings, S.D. But he missed having a Jewish community. And a search for other Jews led him to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. native Rachel Hunt, with whom he formed B’rith Sholom. Hanna assumed the role of president.
Read it all here.