The Windy City welcomed 100 Hillel lay leaders representing campuses from all over the central United States and Canada for Hillel's Midwestern Lay Leadership Institute on March 6. The institute, the second regional program of the year, took place on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Participants shared best practices and strategies for strengthening Jewish life on college campuses.
"Jewish student life would not be the same without the support of the men and women who are passionately committed to Hillel's success," said Hillel President Avraham Infeld. "Their foresight and knowledge of the Jewish community ensures that Hillel will be there not only for today's college students, but for their children and grandchildren as well."
Hillel professionals and lay leaders worked together to plan an intensive day that encouraged networking, fostered new strategies for board development and fundraising and focused on the changing needs of Jewish college students in the 21st century. Several university officials and faculty members and professionals from other Jewish organizations shared information on pertinent, new trends and challenges. Julian Sandler, the vice-chair of the Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life Board of Directors, updated attendees on the status of Hillel's Strategic Planning Process and collected their thoughts and ideas on the future of the organization.
A highlight of the day was the naming of Hillel's Exemplars of Excellence award to three lay leaders who demonstrate extraordinary energy and enthusiasm for Jewish campus life. International Board of Governors member Abel Friedman, a past recipient of the prestigious award, joined Infeld in making the presentations to:
Carol B. Wise of New Orleans, the vice-chair of the Hillel Board of Directors, and past board chair Chuck Newman of Ann Arbor, Mich., co-chaired the daylong institute. Several board members offered valuable support and guidance to participants, including Steve Blonder, Paul Cherner, Maury Fertig, Fred Margolies, Rosalind Neuman and Bluma Stoller.
- Jane Gellman, president of the Hillel Foundation-Milwaukee Board of Directors
- Agi Mandel, president of the Hillel of Greater Toronto Board of Directors
- Daniel Wander, strategic planning chair of Hillels Around Chicago: Multi-Campus Center Board of Directors
The Midwestern Hillels Lay Leadership Institute followed the success of the first regional lay leadership institute held in Los Angeles in January. In spring 2006, lay leaders from all over the world will meet together for Hillel's International Lay Leadership Conference.