WASHINGTON – After two years evolving under the umbrella of Hillel International, The David Project will become the Hillel U Center for Community Outreach, a new initiative to inspire relationship building across cultural, religious and ethnic divides on campuses throughout the Hillel movement.
The David Project was created to help Jewish student leaders build mutually beneficial and enduring partnerships with other student organizations so that the pro-Israel community is integrated and valued on campus. This work will continue with the new Center, combining The David Project’s proven relationship building methodology with Hillel U’s training and empowerment platform.
Building off of the success of The David Project in recent years in bringing together diverse communities for dialogue and understanding, the new Center will provide resources needed for campus Hillels and their professionals to speak to the cross-cutting identities of today’s college students. This work is built on the same values that underpin Hillel’s engagement work, with the goal of creating authentic intergroup relationships based on listening and respect.
By organizing relationship building initiatives, students will engage their peers in conversation, organize jointly led programs with student groups, and create initiatives such as interfaith Seders, dialogue nights and cultural exchanges. These activities will actualize Hillel’s concern for other campus organizations and the issues they advocate for on campus and beyond. Through this work, Hillels will broaden their network on campus, engage students across campus life in dialogue and educational programming, and strengthen the social fabric of their campuses.
“Hillel is a place for every Jewish student, and most students today identify as something other than just Jewish,” said Philip Brodsky, executive director of the new Center for Community Outreach. “By strengthening intergroup relationships, Jewish groups and their partners will, together, address issues of importance to the diverse members of the Jewish community today such as social justice, fighting anti-Semitism and hate, and supporting Israel, while also addressing issues of concern for other campus communities and coming together to learn about and celebrate one another’s vibrant cultures. The new center will be a one-stop shop for Hillel professionals who will in turn teach Jewish students how to feel confident in their Judaism in leadership positions outside of Hillel.”
“In the last two years as part of Hillel International, The David Project has developed itself into a leader in bringing diverse communities together for dialogue and understanding around Israel, anti-Semitism and other pressing issues relevant to Jewish students and our community partners on campus,” said Adam Lehman, interim CEO of Hillel International. “As the Hillel U Center for Community Outreach, we will expand this work by providing new tools and resources for Hillel professionals across the country and around the world to engage students in relationship building and building connections around cross-cutting identities, shared values and experiences.”
The Center for Community Outreach will enable Hillel professionals in relationship building methodology through:
- Community Outreach Cohorts: The Center will provide support to a cohort of campus Hillels each year in writing and implementing a two-year strategic outreach plan to build relationships with non-Jewish student communities.
- Trainings: The Center will focus on specific elements of relationship building, such as how to get started with outreach and how to maximize the impact of an Israel trip for non-Jewish students, as well as trainings for Hillel's focused on engaging specific communities such as certain cultural, religious, issued-based or other leadership groups
- National Summits: The Center will continue to bring together Jewish students and those from other communities for dialogue, increased understanding and strengthening of ties when students are back on campus (e.g. Black Jewish Summit, Latino Jewish Summit, Interfaith Summit).
- Resources for Campus Israel Trips: Trainings will help Hillels hosting Israel trips think through recruitment, processing during trip, and how to ensure significant follow up.
About Hillel International
Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives. For more information visit Hillel.org.