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Hillel looking to expand 80-year-old house

Since 1947, members of Bradley’s Jewish community have run the Hillel House.
Recently, Hillel asked the Peoria zoning commission to approve a location change to its fourth location.
The plan is for Hillel to obtain 1530/1532 W. Fredonia Avenue, formerly a fraternity and duplex residence. For the last several years the house has been a student rental. It is roughly 80 years old and will require work before it can be made into a suitable home  Hillel, said Seth Katz, the group’s advisor.
In the past, the Hillel house was located in the former Sigma Chi house, which was knocked down in order to build the Markin Family Student Recreation Center.
For the past three years, Bradley’s Hillel has been located at 702 Duryea Place. The group never planned to stay there permanently, though.
The Fredonia house will be gutted to the bricks and then expanded. After the expansion, the residence will be able to seat up to 100 people in the dining area and up to about 130 people in the sanctuary for religious services. In the current temporary location, 40 people is the maximum. On Parent’s Weekend, people were packed to the door.
Reform services are hosted every week with conservative services once a month. With the move, it is hoped more conservative services will be added and possibly orthodox sessions as well.
On occasion, members of the Peoria community join in on the services. The extra space will allow for more students and members of the community to attend services.
With the commission’s approval, the house will be redone entirely on the inside to better accommodate the organization’s needs. On Sept. 3, the zoning commission approved the move. The final step is for the Peoria City Council to vote, which will take place on Tuesday. Seth Katz, the faculty advisor of the Hillel house, said a unanimous yes is the expected outcome. Students can sit in on the meeting as city council meetings are open to the public.
Every Friday night, services are held at 5 p.m., followed by a Shabbat Dinner. Every Sunday from noon to 2 p.m., the Hillel house hosts a bagel brunch. These regular services are offered along with other activities. The Hillel house Web site, http://bradleyhillel.org, lists other events such as bowling and barbecues along with educational and cultural events. The Hillel house opens its events to the public. The current location of the Hillel house no longer accommodates these events properly.
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