A Celebration of Jewish Campus Life
October 22, 2002Comments (0)
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Jewish campus life is the focus at the historic opening of Hillel's Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center and the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Building.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, student activists and prominent Jewish leaders from around the world will join together in the historic celebration of Jewish campus life on October 27, as Hillel dedicates the new Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Building and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center in Chinatown. The Open House event starts at 2 p.m. with the dedication scheduled for 4 p.m. at the 800 Eighth St., N.W., location (Chinatown/Gallery Place Metro).
The celebration will include a lively blend of performances by students from around the world, discussions of campus issues, an Israeli market selling jewelry and crafts, tours of the Jewish landmarks in the Chinatown neighborhood (the cradle of the Washington Jewish community) and refreshments. There is no charge to attend these festivities.
The Open House will feature:
The Dedication, which begins at 4 p.m., will feature student presentations and performances as well as remarks by: Hillel President and International Director Richard M. Joel; Reverend Melvin Brown of the Greater New Hope Baptist Church; Edgar M. Bronfman, Chairman of Hillel's International Board of Governors; Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Abe Pollin, Member of Hillel's International Board of Governors; Rabbi William Rudolph of Congregation Beth El and former Hillel Associate International Director; Michael Steinhardt, Co-Chair, Hillel's International Board of Governors; Lynn Schusterman, Co-Chair, Hillel's International Board of Governors; Michael Gelman, President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington; and Jack J. Spitzer, Member of Hillel's International Board of Governors.
- The debut of a new sculpture by renowned Washington-area artist Philip Ratner.
- Performances by the Brandeis Hillel Israeli dance troupe.
- Concerts by the University of Maryland Hillel and the University of Virginia Hillel jazz klezmer bands.
- Performance by the Cornell Hillel a cappella group.
- Discussions with students and professionals about the demographics and behaviors of Jewish college students; Israel advocacy on campus; Hillel's birthright israel, a free 10-day trip to Israel; Tzedek Hillel, Hillel's social justice program; engaging students from a variety of backgrounds in Jewish life on campus; and the perspectives of students from Latin America and the former Soviet Union.
- Traditional Jewish text study.
"Hillel's building is a vibrant, celebratory center of Jewish life in the nation's capital that will both reflect and invigorate the Jewish renaissance that is taking place on campuses around the world," said Hillel President and International Director Richard M. Joel. "Working from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center, our professionals are able to better serve Jewish college students."
The $18 million building project is made possible, in part, by a $4 million grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"As a longtime partner of Hillel, I believe that this grant is a meaningful way to celebrate Hillel's success and to propel the organization forward to greater achievement," explained Hillel International Board of Governors Co-Chair Lynn Schusterman. "This is an important investment in the Jewish future and I am honored that Hillel has chosen to link the Schusterman name with its International Center."
"Hillel could not have reached this point without the Schustermans," said President Joel. "It is particularly fitting that the International Center is named for our late beloved International Board of Governors Co-Chair Charles Schusterman, whose intelligence, commitment, sense of service and spirituality so deeply influenced our development." Charles Schusterman passed away in December 2000.
"Lynn and I are partners in a number of philanthropic endeavors committed to a renaissance of Jewish life," explains Hillel International Board of Governors Chairman Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr. "Hillel and the Jewish community benefit greatly from her leadership, wisdom, strength and passion."
The Schusterman Family Foundation, one of Hillel's largest investors, supports Hillel's broad program worldwide. The Schusterman family, in partnership with Hillel and the Joint Distribution Committee, has been the principal catalyst behind the growth of Hillel in the former Soviet Union where 27 Hillel foundations are helping to create communities for thousands of Jewish students from the Baltic to the Pacific.
"Hillel in the former Soviet Union would not be possible without the vision and commitment of Lynn Schusterman," explains Hillel Board of Directors Chairman Neil Moss. "Lynn can take great pride in giving tens of thousands of young Jews in North America, the FSU, Latin America and around the world the opportunity to explore their Jewishness."
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center is the heart of the Hillel enterprise. Hillel's Schusterman International Center staff provides coordination of such global activities as human resources, development, leadership training and communication. From their Washington, DC base, professionals also work with local Hillels in the areas of Jewish student life, Jewish learning, strategic services, and accreditation.
Hillel constructed the interior of the 800 Eighth Street N.W. building to accommodate its needs. The 45,000-sq. ft. building has nine floors above ground and two below. Among the building's amenities are an art pavilion and a library/resource center. The building will serve as a conference center with meeting rooms and state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities. The Washington office of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation shares a floor with the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.
"This milestone would not have been possible without the guidance of our Building Committee co-chairs, Steve Ashman and David Bittker, whose expertise and skill were instrumental in the purchase," said President Joel.
Hillel bought the building after a period of extraordinary growth in the organization's history. In the last dozen years, Hillel has sought to engage a wide array of Jewish students through activities that are appealing to them. Today, through foundations, regional centers, program centers and affiliates on over 500 campuses across the globe, Hillel provides students with a variety of opportunities to celebrate their Jewish identity -- everything from social events, to sports, to community service, to traditional text study. The organization's mission statement is "maximizing the number of Jews doing Jewish with other Jews."
Since 1990, Hillel has built 20 buildings on college campuses around the world with another 11 in progress. Last year, the organization completed its six-year, $200-million Campaign for Jewish Renaissance one year ahead of schedule and $10 million over its goal. Funds from the campaign were used to support the organization's work at the campus and international level. Hillel has introduced a system of accreditation to provide objective quality standards throughout the movement.
Hillel has created partnerships of students, lay leaders and professionals at the international and local level to provide guidance and support. Hillel's International Board of Governors, Board of Directors and local Foundation boards have attracted an outstanding cadre of supporters drawn from the top ranks of business, academia, Jewish federations and community life. Hillel has developed a particularly strong partnership with the Jewish federation movement.
"Our new building is not only the flagship of Jewish renaissance, it is an inviting Jewish home in the heart of Washington, D.C. for the community, students, professionals, lay leaders and other visitors to the capital," explained President Joel.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation supports programs that seek to enrich and expand Jewish communities in the United States, Israel and the Former Soviet Union. The Foundation also provides assistance to non-sectarian charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, especially in the areas of education, child development and community service. For more information on the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, visit http://www.schusterman.org.
For more information contact Jill Lewis, senior communications associate.