Hillel professionals will do anything to get some time off

University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel Professional Goes Homeless for Habitat for Humanity

By Stephanie Simon

Liz Fremer, the program associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel, went to have her old, dying car checked out a couple of weeks ago. The amount of money needed to fix her car far exceeded the actual face value of the car itself. So Liz was left with a dysfunctional car and really was not in a position to buy a new one.

Luckily, that very week Fremer heard about a contest sponsored by a local Madison radio station. After a rigorous application and interviewing process, Liz was selected to participate and is now competing for a chance to win a 2005 Toyota Scion XB. All Liz has to do now is “live in it to win it.” She, along with three other contestants,have been sitting in that car since March 31, trying to outlast each other until only one is left.

With only 10-minute breaks every three hours and one half-hour break at midnight, Fremer must entertain herself with talking to other contestants, reading and sleeping. Spending her last free evening at Hillel, Fremer racked her brain to come up with a creative Tzedek project to tie into her quest to win a new car. She eventually chose Habitat for Humanity, realizing that while she voluntarily chose to live in a car for a period of time, many people are forced to live in their cars due to a lack of other affordable housing options.

“I was so excited when I heard that I was going to be in the contest. Not only is this an opportunity for me to win a new car, but it’s also a great way to help support a very worthy cause,” Fremer said.

And now with help from other Hillel staff, students and community members, pledges ranging from $1-10 per day are currently being collected at UW-Madison Hillel for Madison’s Habitat for Humanity. The community has forged together to support Liz and to reach the overall goal of $180/day in contributions.

Anyone interested in contributing to this pledge fund should contact Naomi Abelson at Encouraging messages for Liz will also be delivered directly to her. Be sure to check out and click on the “Live in It to Win It” icon to view up-to-date Web cam pictures and updates live from the car.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |