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About the Foundation

What is Hillel's mission?

Hillel's mission is to maximize the number of Jews doing things with other Jews. Hillel actively seeks to engage Jewish students on their own terms: to provide them with opportunities to do things that are meaningful and appealing to them. Students are empowered to take responsibility for their Jewish identity, whether they wish to participate in a community service project, express themselves artistically, participate in a social event, engage in informal Jewish learning or attend religious services. Any student may participate in Hillel. Hillel is committed to a pluralistic vision of Judaism that embraces all movements.

Why is Hillel important to the Jewish community?

It is estimated that 80 percent of college-age Jews – approximately 400,000 individuals – attend some form of institution of higher education. The Jewish community believes that the college years offer the last opportunity to provide Jewish content to young people before they disperse to the working world. Most of these young people know little of their Jewish heritage. Hillel provides Jewish content at a time when young people are searching for meaning in their lives and are in danger of assimilating into the community around them.

How is Hillel structured?

Hillel has granted Foundation status to 120 Foundations in the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and the states of the former Soviet Union. Through a model of interdependent self-sufficiency, Hillel's international center and regional offices help local Foundations in the areas of development, human resources, fiscal administration, student programming and communications. Hillel ensures high operating standards through ongoing review, consultation and accreditation.

Who funds Hillel?

Founded at the University of Illinois in 1923, Hillel has been the central address for Jewish students on college campuses for over 75 years. Today, Hillel is supported by individual benefactors and foundations as well as by Jewish federations and international organizations. Since 1996, Hillel has raised over $108 million in its six-year, $200 million Campaign for Jewish Renaissance to strengthen Jewish life on campus locally and internationally.

Who are Hillel's leaders?

The Hillel Board of Directors, chaired by Neil M. Moss of Columbus, Ohio, sets Hillel policy. Members of the board include volunteer and student leaders from North America and abroad. The Hillel International Board of Governors provides counsel and advice to the Board of Directors. The chairman of the Board of Governors is Edgar M. Bronfman of New York, NY, and co-chairs are Michael Steinhardt of New York, NY, and Lynn Schusterman of Tulsa, OK. Richard M. Joel is the President and International Director of Hillel.

What are some major Hillel initiatives?

The Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning provides Jewish learning opportunities in a variety of venues, from the
Internet, to dorm rooms, to traditional text study.
The Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps hires recent college graduates for one-year fellowships on 100 campuses to engage Jewish students and provide Jewish programs.
The Soref Initiative for Emerging Campuses provides support for Jewish student programs on campuses with Jewish populations under 500 and without a full-time Hillel professional.
The Charlotte and Jack J. Spitzer B'nai B'rith Hillel Forum on Public Policy brings together college students each year for a three-day conference to explore public policy and social action.
Hillel's Charles Schusterman International Student Leaders Assembly convenes Jewish student leaders from around the world each year to build leadership skills and Jewish knowledge.
The Hillel International Professional Staff Conference is designed to sharpen the skills of Hillel staff and advisors from affiliated campuses. Held annually.
The Hillel International Lay Leadership Conference, an annual event, helps international and local Hillel Board members learn how to more effectively provide resources to Jewish college students.
The Hillel Guide to Jewish Life on Campus, revised every two years, provides information about Jewish activities on 500 campuses worldwide. Information from the book is also available on the Guide to Jewish Life on Campus page.
Hillel in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), through three regional centers and 17 satellite locations, is educating a generation of young Jews who have had no prior exposure to their Jewish identity. Hillel provides Seders to over 20,000 Jews every Passover. Hillel in the former Soviet Union was established through the support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
The Tzedek Hillel program transforms Hillel Foundations and their communities by helping students to pursue community service and social action. The program is supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
Hillel's birthright israel program, made possible by birthright israel, provides a free, ten-day, campus-based trip to Israel for thousands of Jewish students, ages 18-26, who have never been to the country on a group tour.