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Dr. Seth Katz, assistant professor of English and Hillel’s faculty adviser, addresses the crowd at Thursday's ceremonial groundbreaking for Hillel's new home.
By Abby Wilson ’10
After working for years to find a place to house its student organization, Bradley Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus, has a place to permanently call home. Hillel held a ceremonial groundbreaking November 5 to begin work on its new quarters at the southeast corner of Fredonia and Glenwood.
“Like the people of Israel that Moses led from Egypt, Bradley Hillel has wandered through the desert for more than 40 years, moving from one house to another and another,” said President Joanne Glasser at the ceremony. “This groundbreaking is the beginning of the end of that long journey.”
Hillel had to leave its previous building to make way for the new Sigma Chi house on Fredonia in 2006, but the University offered them a long-term lease for their new house and permission to renovate it however they choose. Hillel’s current house is on Duryea Place.
The renovations will be extensive, thanks to the support of private donors. According to Dr. Seth Katz, assistant professor of English and Hillel’s faculty adviser, only the exterior will remain the same. The house will be gutted to hold a large meeting/dining room that will comfortably seat 90, along with two fully kosher kitchens (one for dairy products, the other for meat) on the first floor. The second floor will house an office, a library, and a sanctuary with seating for 130. Laundry, storage, and a large common area will be in the basement. The 3,500-square-foot house will be wheelchair accessible.
The renovation will incorporate the most current technology in terms of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to maximize efficiency. High-efficiency windows will replace the originals, the house will be reinsulated, and compact fluorescents will be placed in all fixtures.
Katz expects the house to be completed in 2010. He says Hillel has been working to become more involved in campus-wide programming through programs like the Last Lecture. Hillel members plan to use the new building to increase the organization’s presence on Bradley’s campus.
Hillel has been on campus since 1947 when the late Dr. Allen Cannon, professor emeritus of music, founded the organization. The next faculty adviser for the group was the late Dr. Kal Goldberg, professor emeritus of economics. “I’m sorry the two of them didn’t live to see this. It would have meant a lot to them,” said Katz. “The support of the University is a testament to Bradley’s commitment to a rich and diverse student body and making people feel welcome here. Mrs. Bradley would have been proud.”
Today, Katz estimates that 60 students come regularly to Hillel events, and about 200 of Bradley’s 250 Jewish students attend at least one Hillel event every year.
Visit bradleyhillel.org for more information.