Penn Hillel Breaks Ground on New Home
October 15, 2001Comments (0)
| E-mail this to a friend Steinhardt Hall Accommodates Growth, Unites Jewish Community
Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania broke ground on Thursday, October 4 for Steinhardt Hall, a new 35,000 sq. ft. facility that will accommodate the growing needs of the university's dynamic, diverse, 6,000-member Jewish community. The new campus Jewish center, to be located at 39th Street between Walnut Street and Locust Walk, will be named for international philanthropists Judy and Michael Steinhardt who made the lead $2.5 million donation for the $12 million project. The Steinhardts are parents of a Penn alumnus, and Mr. Steinhardt, co-chair of Hillel's International Board of Governors, graduated from Penn's Wharton School of Business in 1960. The building's expected date of completion is spring 2003.
"Through this gift, the Steinhardts once again demonstrate their generosity, vision and commitment to bringing about a renaissance of Jewish life," says Hillel President and International Director Richard M. Joel.
"Steinhardt Hall will be a magnificent addition to the campus, benefiting the students and the greater Penn community. Those who have joined in supporting this worthwhile project see it as our gift to Penn; our way of expressing thanks for all that Penn has meant to us. I hope alumni, parents and friends will join us in building this lasting legacy," says Philadelphia businessman and Penn alumnus Ed Berkowitz (C '49) who is the chairman of the Building Campaign.
"Thanks to Judy and Michael Steinhardt, Jewish students at Penn will soon have a facility that meets their needs and the needs of generations of students to come," says Rabbi Howard Alpert, Executive Director of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia. Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania is a campus foundation of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia.
Steinhardt Hall at the University of Pennsylvania will provide a much needed facility for the school's large and active Jewish population. The facility, built more than 70 years ago, is worn out from overuse and can no longer meet current demands. Today more than 25 Jewish student groups meet under Hillel auspices, with 1,500 young people using the current Hillel building every week. Quarters are cramped. Students are often forced to meet elsewhere. Kosher dining must be provided off-site, in an inconvenient location on the edge of campus. Sabbath and holiday celebrations are scattered throughout the campus, making it difficult to unify the community. Steinhardt Hall will be located in Hamilton Village, the residential center of campus.
The new facility will include:
The Student Activities Center – designed for 27 Jewish student groups affiliated with Hillel.
The Student Lounge and Coffee Bar, and The Living Room – Spaces for relaxing and informal meetings.
The Library – Featuring a new computer center and large Judaica book collection.
The Dining Commons – With two kosher kitchens, accommodates 350.
The Sanctuary – Seats 350 and may be used as an auditorium.
Graduate Lounge – Designed for the unique needs of professional and graduate students.
Beit Midrash – A center for the study of classical Jewish texts, seating 175, that can be converted for other purposes.
The building is being designed by Jacobs Wyper, built by R.M. Shoemaker and financed by Commonwealth Bank. Staubach and Co. is the project manager.
During the past seven years, Judy and Michael Steinhardt have championed a series of innovative programs to promote Jewish identity among young people through their Jewish Life Network. They created Hillel's Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps, a program that hires recent college graduates to engage uninvolved Jewish students in Jewish life on campus, and support the Jewish Renaissance Project at Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Steinhardt is a co-founder of birthright israel, a program which will provide free trips to Israel for thousands of Jews ages 18-26. The Steinhardts also created the Makor Center for young Jewish adults on New York's Upper West Side.
Hillel of Greater Philadelphia is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and is affiliated with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. It maintains a presence at 22 colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area.
The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, is committed to creatively empowering and engaging Jewish students through its network of over 500 regional centers, campus Foundations, program centers and Hillel student organizations. Its long-standing dedication to building Jewish identity, while nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth in a pluralistic community, positions Hillel as a leader in building a stronger Jewish people and stronger Jewish future.