Hillel has always been the center of my Jewish life. Since I arrived at Union, this club has facilitated a welcoming and nurturing environment for me as a student and person. Hillel is a place that fosters Jewish identity and culture on campus. Hillel has brought me lifelong friends, an incredible passion for my religion and heritage, and a healthy community I can rely on. I enjoy the culture and cuisine immensely as well as the people who keep me coming back. It is a safe place to bond with other people with similar experiences to mine. The home-cooked meals every Friday at Shabbat remind me of my Jewish traditions. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel at home at Hillel, and you will be ready to begin your Union journey with the comfort of like minded people right by your side.
The sense of safety that Hillel provides on campus is important to develop inclusive religious spaces at Union. From the start, students always want to be surrounded by people they can relate to. At Union, the availability of religious spaces like Hillel allow students to be surrounded by those that they can become closer with and foster a sense of community in religion and culture. However, perhaps an even bigger advantage of Hillel and new spaces is to welcome in new students and have them learn something about their culture or a new one. The fact that Hillel is open to everyone accommodates a diverse environment of Jewish and non-Jewish participants. And for those who fall somewhere in the middle, the space can be a great environment to learn more about their identity or be introduced to new traditions and heritage. The weekly events range from Shabbat dinners to weekly meetings; they invite a range of perspectives and people to partake in Jewish traditions. Diverse religious thinking is embraced at Hillel and it is more appealing for some who do not identify with a single religion unlike other more religious spaces like Chabad on campus.
The impact of Hillel for first years was highlighted by Dana Aument ‘26 who remarked that “I also got food appropriate for my diet upon arriving at Union from Hillel…. Hillel is accessible and is a good balance between exploring your identity and Torah.” The scope of Hillel highlights it as a key asset to Union and a culture that invites all class years. This makes it perfect for anyone who wants to feel included. The director of Hillel, Bonnie Cramer, also highlighted that “Hillel is committed to a pluralistic, equalitarian, LGBTQIA+ friendly community. We understand that each Jewish journey is unique and want to provide a safe space for students to explore their understanding of what it means to be a part of the Jewish people..” The openness of the organization and connection to the Jewish people marks it as a key organization that anyone can join and should feel free to participate in. Hillel looks forward to welcoming you and guiding you through your journey with Judaism no matter where you are.