Hillel was created in 1923 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and adopted by B'nai B'rith the following year, enabling Hillel to grow into the world’s largest Jewish campus organization.
Hillel has experienced the seismic events of the last 85 years: the Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, the creation of the State of Israel, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights era, the liberation of Soviet Jewry and so much more.
Hillel is pleased to make the following documents available that help to illustrate our growth and evolution.
[All require Adobe Acrobat Reader version 4.0 or higher.]
The Road to Renaissance. An overview of Hillel's history from its birth through 2002. DC. The Road to Renaissance (PDF File 504Kb)
Statistics of the Jews, 1918-1919. (PDF File 540Kb)
The 1920-1921 American Jewish Year Book, a publication of the American Jewish Committee, reports on Jewish life on campus in 1918, before the creation of Hillel. Scroll down the document to page 383 to find the campus statistics.
Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, February 1, 1924. Norman De Nosaquo, a Jewish student at the University of Wisconsin, writes a letter to the editor praising the creation of Hillel at the University of Illinois and arguing for the creation of a similar group at the University of Wisconsin. A few months later, Hillel at the University of Wisconsin, Madison was born. Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle (PDF File 266Kb)
B'nai B'rith Magazine, 1924-1925. B'nai B'rith adopted Hillel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1924. These articles describe the earliest mission statements and programs. Courtesy, Philip Lax Archive (B'nai B'rith Archives) B'nai Brith Magazine (PDF File 3.5Mb)
October 1924: "[T]he charge is leveled that… university training makes of the Jewish student a one-sided intellectualist or materialist. If Jewish boys and girls are to be kept out of this danger, they must be given the opportunity to cultivate those aspects of their life which are now neglected, which the school by its very nature cannot, and for which the social environment does not give adequate facilities."
December 1924: Hillel at the University of Wisconsin was established: "to provide a channel for the Jewish Student to express himself Jewishly."
Message of B’nai B’rith President Adolf Kraus, April 1925. The president of B'nai B'rith explains the organization’s objectives in adopting Hillel. "[I]f we adhere to the program mapped out and establish and extend the religious foundation work as rapidly as circumstances will permit into other schools where the greatest necessity exists, then within a few years the religious work so conducted by [B'nai B'rith]… will be universally recognized as one of the most powerful influences in American Jewish life." Courtesy, Philip Lax Archive (B'nai B'rith Archives) Message of B’nai B’rith President Adolf Kraus (PDF File 1.4Mb)
Sex Ed and Sunday Services: Hillel 1928 The transcript of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations Commission meeting, May 1928 with a detailed description of activities in four of five existing Hillels.
1929 Iowa Hillel Forum - This oldest existing local Hillel publication gives insight on campus life in Iowa, 1929.
1929 Iowa Hillel Forum (PDF File 2Mb)
"The Jewish Student in America," (1937) by Dr. Lee Levinger, statistics and analysis of the 1935 study of Jewish student enrollments in 1,400 institutions of higher learning in the United States.
The Jewish Student in America Chaps. 1-3 (PDF File 9.5Mb)
The Jewish Student in America Chaps. 4-6 (PDF File 9Mb)
The Jewish Student in America Chaps. 7-End (PDF File 6.2Mb)
The National Jewish Monthly, November 1939. With 12 full-fledged Foundations in operation, Hillel announces a major program to create "Hillel Extension Units" onto 18 campuses with smaller Jewish populations. The National Jewish Monthly (PDF File 3.1Mb)
Hillel, 1940-1941. This pocket-size brochure and calendar describes Hillel directors on 17 campuses and serves as a precursor to Hillel's Guide to Jewish Life on Campus. 1940-1941 Guide (PDF File 6.2Mb)
"The B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations – Retrospect and Prospect," The Jewish Forum October, 1944. Ohio State University Hillel Director Harry Kaplan discusses Hillel’s role in the post-war era including re-integrating veterans and combating campus anti-Semitism. 1944 Jewish Forum Article (PDF File 2.5Mb)
Hillel Brochure, 1945. Packed with photos, this brochure assesses Hillel's accomplishments and its future. Hillel "operates on the principle that the patterns of Jewish life are important in the composite of western civilization, and that the university is enriched when it supplements the resources of the campus with the best in the Jewish tradition."
1945 Brochure Pages 1-10 (PDF File 5Mb)
1945 Brochure Pages 11-20 (PDF File 5.6Mb)
1945 Brochure Pages 21-36 (PDF File 8.5Mb)
"Hillel: An Integrating Force in American Jewry" (undated). This brochure was issued during World War Two. “[E]very director and Hillel worker keeps in mind the one great goal: the creation of an intelligent, mature, well-integrated generation of Jewish people. Hillel has made and will continue to make definite constructive contributions to the American scene.” Courtesy of the Jacob Rader Marcus American Jewish Archives. Integrating Force (PDF File 366Kb)
Hillel and BBYO Brochure (undated). This promotional brochure discusses the work of Hillel and BBYO, B’nai B’rith’s youth service agencies. Hillel and BBYO (PDF File 1.7Mb)
"Two Hundred Thousand Jewish Collegians," (1948) by Robert Shosteck, a report on the 1946 decennial census of Jewish college students providing the enrollment statistics of Jewish students in 1,554 of 1,633 institutions of higher learning.
Jewish Student Survey Chap. 1-7 (PDF File 5.2Mb)
Jewish Student Survey Chap. 8 (PDF File 4.9Mb)
Jewish Student Survey Chap. End-Summary (PDF File 4.5Mb)
National Jewish Monthly (1959) - This 1959 excerpt from the National Jewish Monthly follows University of Pennsylvania student Joan Kaplan as she participates in Hillel activities.
National Jewish Monthly (PDF File 1.2Mb)
"Jewish Students and Student Services at American Universities," (1963) by Alfred Jospe, a statistical and historical study which updates the 1935, 1946 and 1955 reports.
Jewish Students and Student Services at American Universities (PDF File 5.5Mb)
The B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations, Five Decades of Service, 1973. In this reprint from the June 1973 National Jewish Monthly, Hillel pioneer Abram Sachar discusses the early history of the organization, a Hillel director discusses the professional’s role, a former student describes his engagement by a Hillel director, and Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Alfred Jospe assesses contemporary students: "if previous student generations tended to reject their Jewish identity on social or intellectual grounds, many young people today have begun to question their American identity on moral and often profoundly religious grounds." The National Jewish Monthly (PDF File 7.2Mb)
1974: The Test of Time - Hillel marked its 50th anniversary with this compendium of essays from prominent Hillel professionals and academics on a wide range of topics relating to Hillel’s past, present and future. Writers include Abram Sachar, Marvin Fox and Philip. M. Klutznick.
The Test of Time, Chapters 1-4 (PDF File 7.3Mb)
The Test of Time, Chapters 5-End (PDF File 7.8Mb)
Hillel Foreign Student Service - Hillel’s Foreign Student Service secured college admission, scholarships, room board and transportation for European Jewish students from 1938-1952.
Hillel Foreign Student Service (PDF File 5 Mb)
Reengineering the Jewish Organization: The Transformation of Hillel, 1988-2000 Jay L. Rubin, then-executive vice president of Hillel, describes the transformation of Hillel under Hillel President Richard M. Joel. “How did Hillel go from near the bottom of the Jewish communal food chain to near the top in little more than a decade?” Reprinted from the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Summer 2000. Reengineering the Jewish Organization: The Transformation of Hillel (PDF File 76Kb)
The Remaking of Hillel: A Case Study on Leadership and Organizational Transformation by Mark I. Rosen Ph.D. January 2006 published by The Fisher-Bernstein Institute for Jewish Philanthropy and Leadership. Describes Hillel transformation.
Hillel at 85: Engaging From the Start
Washington Jewish Week on Hillel's 85th anniversary exhibit.
Tell Us Your Jewish Campus Story!
A Quick Overview of Hillel History.
Hillel Rabbis Off to War