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About Tikvah

Tikvah began with the desire to bring true Torah Judaism to the campus and students of the University of Florida. Previously, no group existed that represented the traditional side of Judaism in an accurate, authentice manner. Tikvah arose to address the needs of all students,and continues to provide a traditional, Jewish environment for thousands of people.

In 1997, three students established the group for the few Orthodox students at the University. They chose to name the new group Tikvah, the Hebrew word for hope. It was their hope that the group would grow and be there to serve the religious students that came from Miami and other parts of the country. Under the leadership of Justin Zeller and Michael Behar, Tikvah became fully integrated into the Jewish community of Gainesville, Florida. The group got a further boost when it became part of the student government of the University. Tikvah originally conducted its services in a little room in the main building of the University of Florida Hillel Association.

In 1998, Michael Rothenberg joined the team. That year, Tikvah expanded their base and reached out to all the students. Tikvah worked together with the other Jewish groups, engaging in social functions and other programs. The following year, Tikvah took on a bold project. Under the leadership of Michael Rothenberg and with the enormous efforts of Summer Schwartz, the group singlehandedly made the Hillel kitchen glat Kosher; a major project indeed. Furthermore, under the supervision of Rabbi Edward Davis of Hollywood, Florida, members of the group including Michael Rothenberg, Summer Schwartz, Michael Behar, and Aaron Cohen supervised the kitchen and maintained its strictness to traditional Jewish dietary law. The group used the kitchen to supervise the cooking of meals for hundreds of students and guests every Shabbos. The cooking and preperation was done by Summer Schwartz. For the first time, students at the University were able to get a glat Kosher meal every week.

Tikvah continued to grow. Services drew 40 - 70 students per week. Weekday morning services were held periodically, where none had existed before. Classes were given every week, where anyone could get their questions aswered. Michael Rothenberg led a Talmud class that drew interest from many students (and some faculty) who never had the opportunity to study Talmud before. Michael got the idea for starting Tikvah Online as a way to reach out to students and millions of other people via the internet. It is now a giant resource site for Jewish learning and the group's activities.

Tikvah joined with Yeshivah Miami and Talmudic Academy to bring a touch of Chassidism to Gainesville. Successful Purim services were held, where hundreds of students celebrated with members of a Miami Yeshivah and expereicned a true Megillah reading. Due to the efforts of Michael Behar, Tikvah was able to draw Aish Hatorah to Gainesville to conduct a world famous program. Passover services were held in the most traditional sense and hundreds of students attended. Tikvah also brought esteemed, world famous Rabbis to town and had Shabbatons both on campus and even in member's homes. In Summer 2000, with the help of Michael Rothenberg and others, Chabad Lubavitch returned to Gainesville to serve the growing, vibrant Jewish community.

Today, Tikvah continues to stand for True Torah Judaism and Jewish learning. We believe in making this learning available to all people wherever they may be. With G-d's help, We will continue to serve Jewish students at the University of Florida for years to come and will continue to give access via the web for all Jews to have the vital Torah learning we Jews so desperately need. Thank you for visiting our site.

Michael Rothenberg

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