Across the country, college and university campuses are springing back to life as students return. These days, Hillels are doing more than ever to welcome to their campus environments.
The Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia’s weekly Jewish newspaper, recently featured a number of campus Hillels that are unveiling new programs and spaces. Included in the mix was Drexel University in Philadelphia’s University City, which is overseen by Rabbi Isabelle De Koninck, ’10. Years in the making, Drexel’s Jewish community will finally have its own Hillel building. Read the full story here or check out the excerpt below:
Students at Drexel University may not arrive for class for another week, but when they do, Hillel at Drexel is ready to welcome them back with their fall programming — and soon a new building.
Rabbi Isabel de Koninck, executive director of Drexel Hillel and campus rabbi, is looking forward to their early move-in program, known as Jewniversity, for students on Sept. 8.
The annual Jewish Life Carnival will also introduce students — particularly freshmen and new students to Hillel — to all of the Jewish organizations on campus, as well as a few organizations in the area that have partnered with the event.
Sometime this fall, Hillel will move into its new home at Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life on North 34th Street.
Students will be able to hold events in the new space as well as host film screenings in the amphitheater, and de Koninck is looking forward to having the ability to create partnerships with offices across campus to hold events in the building.
There will also be, for the first time, a full-time Israel engagement associate thanks to support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, who will work on Birthright recruitment and follow through as well as “create more opportunities to encounter Israel in different ways.”
Having the new building for programming will also provide a new way to connect with students who are already involved with Hillel as well as those still looking for their Jewish path on campus.
“Our hope is they come to campus and see this as an opportunity to get to figure out for themselves what it means to be Jewish,” de Koninck said, “and how Judaism can help them to live really inspired and meaningful and purpose-driven lives.”