WHO WE ARE
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. The organization serves students at more than 550 colleges and communities throughout North America and globally, including 30 communities in the former Soviet Union, nine in Israel, and five in South America. Since its origin in 1923, Hillel has played a critical role in ensuring the future of our Jewish community by creating a welcoming environment for Jewish students on campus and by fostering students’ ability to incorporate Jewish tradition into their lives. Hillel helps students expand Jewish knowledge, hone leadership skills, bolster ties to Israel, and volunteer in social justice work. Just as the university establishes a professional foundation for students’ futures, Hillel builds a Jewish foundation for their lifetime. Hillel equips today’s students to be the supporters and leaders of tomorrow’s Jewish community.
WHAT WE DO
Hillel seeks to engage every Jewish student on campus, from those with strong Jewish backgrounds to those with none at all. Over the decades, Hillel’s approach to education and engagement has evolved. Once seen as “the synagogue on campus,” Hillel today encourages students to take ownership of their Jewish experience and define “Jewish” their own way. The destination of their Jewish journey is up to the student — Hillel provides the resources.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Hillel seeks to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life.
Hillel seeks to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.
Hillel is committed to
- Creating a pluralistic, welcoming, and inclusive environment;
- Fostering student growth and the balance in being distinctively Jewish and universally human;
- Advancing social justice, Jewish learning, and spirituality;
- Embracing Israel and global Jewish peoplehood;
- Delivering excellence, innovation, accountability, and results.
SIGNIFICANCE TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Over 85% of all U.S. college-age Jews, approximately 400,000, attend an institution of higher learning. There is no other window of time when the Jewish community knows exactly where to find such a vast part of our population. Not only is Hillel’s audience highly concentrated, but they are in the midst of one of the most formative periods of their lives. The campus environment encourages students to contemplate their future and grapple with serious questions of meaning, values, and identity. Hillel reaches them during this decisive time when they are open to influences and experiences that will shape their commitment to the Jewish people. By making Jewish life accessible and meaningful to students, Hillel lays the groundwork for students to continue to find meaning in Jewish life even after graduation. In this way, Hillel builds a foundation for Jewish life that extends far beyond the campus.
HOW WE ARE STRUCTURED
Hillel welcomes any and all Jewish students to take advantage of its resources, initiatives, and services; no membership is required. Local Hillels do not pay a fee to belong to the global enterprise, which operates on an annual budget of nearly $95 million. Rather, Hillel’s Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center, the global headquarters, offers local Hillels a comprehensive spectrum of resources and services to support them in their work on campus, including content or consulting in the areas of institutional advancement, strategic planning, leadership development, fundraising, human resources, fiscal administration, student engagement, and communications. In addition, the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience provides students and professionals with Jewish educational resources and learning curricula.
Hillel is supported by individual benefactors and foundations, Jewish Federations of North America, and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its supporting federations. Hillel’s professional staff is led by President Wayne L. Firestone. The Hillel Board of Directors, which includes volunteer lay and student leaders from North America and abroad, sets Hillel policy and is chaired by Beatrice S. Mandel of Los Angeles, California. The Hillel International Board of Governors, chaired by Randall Kaplan of Greensboro, NC, provides counsel to the Board of Directors. The founding chairman is Edgar M. Bronfman of New York, NY, and founding co-chairs are Lynn Schusterman of Tulsa, OK, and Michael Steinhardt of New York, NY.
HILLEL AND ISRAEL
Hillel is steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders and as a member of the family of free nations. Israel advocacy and education is both an obligation stemming from Hillel’s commitment to strengthening Jewish life and an opportunity to engage in conversation with students about themselves as Jews and as members of the Jewish people.
SOME MAJOR HILLEL INITIATIVES
- Hillel's Guide to Jewish Life on Campus
(www.hillel.org/guide) JLOC is the world’s foremost source on Jewish campus life. Every year, over 500,000 high schoolers, parents, guidance counselors, and others turn to our guide for details about Jewish life on campus.
The Campus Entrepreneurship Initiative (CEI)
Based on a peer-mentoring model, this initiative selects previously uninvolved students to engage 60 peers from their social networks. Since its inception in 2006, student interns have built relationships with over 18,680 previously uninvolved Jewish peers on 17 campuses.
The Peer-Network Engagement Internship (PNEI)
PNEI applies the principles of CEI, training a smaller cohort of student interns to connect 40 of their uninvolved peers with Jewish life. In its first year, PNEI developed nearly 1,600 relationships with formerly unengaged students.
Senior Jewish Education
This initiative places 10 experienced Jewish educators on campus to work with CEI student interns and offer in-depth Jewish educational content to students. Over the next three years, Hillel aims to add a senior Jewish educator on five campuses annually to reach a total of 25 by 2012.
These 7-10-day trips combine hands-on volunteer service with Jewish learning and reflection. As the leading provider of Alternative Breaks for Jewish students, Hillel has offered over 8,000 students the chance to join their peers in pursuing social justice in a Jewish context locally and globally.
Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC)
The ICC is a partnership of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Hillel in cooperation with a network of over 30 organizations committed to promoting Israel education and advocacy on college campuses.
Supported by the Israeli government, Jewish Federations and philanthropists, this partnership offers thousands of Jewish college students a free, first-time trip to Israel with their peers. More than 35,200 Jewish college students have experienced a first visit through Hillel since 2000.
Campus Israel Fellows
This initiative, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, places young Israelis on campuses to serve as peer educators and foster support for Israel. This year, Israel Fellows at 19 Hillels can reach about 80,000 Jewish students.