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In the News

01/25/2023 11:00:00 AM


Hillel International Turns 100!

Founded in 1923, Hillel International can trace its roots to Edward Chauncey Baldwin, a Christian professor of Biblical literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was dismayed at how little his Jewish students knew about the Hebrew bible. After bringing this to the attention of Rabbi Benjamin Frankel, members of the local Jewish and university communities met in rented space over a Champaign dry cleaner and founded Hillel.

Several years later, B’nai B’rith pledged to underwrite Hillel’s activities, and the organization began to spread its wings nationally. Its stated mission was to create a warm, welcoming environment for Jewish students, many of whom were away from home for the first time. 

By its own estimate, Hillel has served the needs of more than one million Jewish students since its founding. Its offerings range from scholarships and fellowships for Jewish students to Hillel-Birthright trips to Israel to dealing with Antisemitism on campus to Kosher kitchens. For many Jewish parents with children applying to college, it has been an online source of information to learn what percentage of college student populations are Jewish.

Today, Hillel is affiliated with approximately 900 college campuses, not only throughout the U.S., but around the world. Interestingly, most of the 50 international Hillels are not affiliated with colleges or universities, but rather with individual cities. Hillel has outposts from Azerbaijan to Argentina and from Germany to Ukraine.

Happy birthday Hillel!

Sat, January 28 2023 6 Shevat 5783