Walk into the Hillel House on a Friday afternoon and you’ll be greeted with the sound of students bustling around, setting up the scene for the evening service as the Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner is cooked in the kitchen.
The Hillel organization at Bradley was founded in 1947 by the late Allen Cannon to serve the needs of Jewish students, whether it be getting involved with religious activities or simply having a place to relax.
Hillel is home to a variety of religious, social and education activities, including weekly Shabbat services and dinner, as well as weekly Sunday Bagel Brunch. They additionally host holiday services for major Jewish festivals, such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover.
“I’ve been really pleased with how active Hillel has been this year,” said Hillel President Daniel Shore. “We’ve had about 30 to 40 students coming to services, and at least 15 or 20 students to social events. Things have been going very well; we have really pushed for Hillel to host religious, social and cultural events.”
Faculty adviser Seth Katz said Hillel has been looking forward to moving to a new house. The organization is currently at a temporary facility given to the organization by Bradley until they move into their new location, which should be ready within the next year.
Katz said he and the students are looking forward to a “significantly larger, more comfortable area.” He said he hopes to see many changes and opportunities once they move into the new house, including hiring a full-time director.
“Since the organization is large enough, our next major goal is putting together the funding to be able to pay a staff person who will have Hillel as their full-time responsibility,” Katz said. “And of course, we would like every Jewish student to feel that Hillel is a place that they can go to and be welcome.”
Former Hillel president Ellen Hanson said she shares similar thoughts and she’d like to see “a place where all Jewish students can come and hang out, do homework or watch television.
“The new house is important because it will bring more Jewish students to Hillel and Bradley,” she said. “It will also provide more room for us to have meals and services, and a bigger kitchen.”
Hillel House is currently located at 407 N. Duryea Ave. until the new house is finished, which should be sometime next year.