David Yaron belonged to a Jewish fraternity at Johns Hopkins University, but it wasn't until the creation of the Hillel house that he felt a sense of pride and belonging with the campus' broader Jewish community.
The 16,000-square-foot complex built in the spring of 2004 is the central Jewish address on the Baltimore campus, offering everything from Shabbat services and study rooms to comfortable lounges where students can project DirectTV's NFL Sunday Ticket onto a huge screen.
"It's basically creating a lot of buzz about the stuff that we do," said Yaron, a junior studying neuroscience who runs an outreach program to Jewish students.
What's happening in Baltimore is a nationwide trend. Since 1994, Hillel - also known as The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life - has begun constructing or renovating buildings at 37 campuses across the country. In doing so, Hillel, based in Washington, has rebranded itself and changed Jewish life for many Jewish students like Yaron.
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