Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Chais Family Foundation (CFF), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (CLSFF) that will enable it to significantly expand the programs and other services it provides to Jews of college age in Russia.
According to Wayne Firestone, the president of Hillel, “This historic collaboration is a reflection of a shared commitment among all parties to the agreement to the deepening of the core values of Hillel in the FSU in areas such as Israel, community, memory, tradition, tikun olam and pluralism.”
For the past 12 years, Hillel has been operating in the FSU in partnership with the CLSFF and the JDC. This agreement, which builds on that experience and collaboration, will consolidate all college-student outreach efforts among these groups into a newly-constituted Hillel structure with branches that will report directly to Hillel’s Moscow-based Russia regional director. Paralleling Hillel’s five-year Strategic Plan in the United States, Hillel in Russia will seek to vastly expand the number of young adults it serves by going beyond today’s student activists who meet in Hillel clubs. Hillel will engage students and other young Jews in locations on university campuses and in other popular venues.
January 1, 2007 will begin an 18-month transition period in which Hillel intends to strengthen its Russia-based administrative and program personnel, pilot new activities, build effective working relationships and lay the groundwork necessary to expand the collaborative effort throughout the entire FSU. Hillel’s budget in Russia for 2007 will be $2.3 million, a 35% increase over its budget in 2006.
During the transition period, the Hillel program in Russia will be guided by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives of the collaborating organizations. The Steering Committee will be chaired by Hillel President Emeritus Avraham Infeld, one of the primary architects of this collaborative effort. Hillel International Division Director Aaron Goldberg will oversee the implementation.