Jewish students on Michigan
campuses increasingly call
Hillel their home in touch with their heritage and for
personal help," she explained.
Hillel dates back to 1923 when a
Jew and a non-Jew began the first
ewish college students in
Hillel group. They started it in the
Michigan have a "home
Midwest because they felt that Jewish
away from home" at such
students at small Midwestern col-
schools as Wayne State
leges with small Jewish populations
University and Oakland
needed a support group. There now
University in the metropolitan
are more than 400 Hillel organiza-
Detroit area, the University of tions in the United States. Others ex-
Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan . ist in Australia, Israel, Canada, South
State University in East Lansing and
America and Europe.
also at small schools such as Western
Jennifer Epstein, a 19-year-old
Michigan University in Kalamazoo
sophomore at Michigan State Univer-
and Central Michigan University at
sity, has benefited from her associa-
tion with Hillel. The daughter of Nor-
These "homes" are B'nai B'rith
man and Deena Epstein of West
Hillel organizations. Whether they
Bloomfield, she attended the Hillel
are large buildings with a staff of
National Leadership and Political
many or an intimate office with a
Seminar in Washington last October
staff of one, they symbolize friendship,
and was named to the Hillel national
companionship, education, sharing
board. She has just returned from a
two-week Hillel trip to Israel, sup-
And they work. Overall, more
ported by the Irving and Sarah Pitt
than one-quarter of the Jewish
students attending the larger colleges
These experiences are solidifying
are involved with Hillel in one way or
desires to be a rabbi.
another. They may only attend a
Each Hillel foundation has
movie there, eat a kosher meal or
Sandra Lowenberg and friend relax at WSU HiIle!.
similar stories, but each is different.
serve on a committee, but they are in-
Yet each serves the same purpose: to
volved,, according to Ruth Fredman
be the Jewish identity on campus.
muter Campus Hillels. People became
Cernea of the international office of
They don't get involved with on-
The Hillel Foundation at Wayne
excited about the concept, according
the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations in
campus activities like students who
State University and the counselor-
to Rabbi Finkelman. There will be
live on campus.
another commuter conference this.
"We feel we are successful
The Wayne State University
serve commuter and non-traditional
because we serve the need of Jewish
Hillel is housed in the Grosberg spring in Philadelphia.
students. Few Jewish students live on
Rabbi Finkelman has been at the
Religious Center at the student
• students to have a place on campus
either campus and many work off-
Hillel for ten years. He is
center on campus. Rabbi Eli
that represents all forms of Judaism.
campus and have families to support.
by Carol Kaczander, who is
Finkelman, the director, sees his chief
It's a place where they can go to get
for contacting Jewish
role as being the Jewish presence for
State and other
the campus and community.
"Colleges are not humanizing.
They deal with programs," he says.
"Hillel's function is to try to be rela-
A part-time staff member at WSU,
tional and humanizing. We meet, talk
presently is working towards
to each other, care about who the
developing a Hillel counselorship at
"This means we are lots of dif- the OCC Orchard Ridge Campus in
ferent things all at once. We serve a Farmington Hills.
Kaczander sees these small Hillel
kosher lunch during the week,
organize private lessons if a student
cultural and educa-
wants to learn Hebrew, arrange home
hospitality for students at Passover tional life. She's already developed
three programs with the Human
and listen if students have problems.
We have a library, sponsor programs Enrichment Center at OCC: "Losing
Your Fear of Testing Your Abilities,"
of our own and even send students to
"Prying to Manage It All — Home,
other conferences where they come
Job, Children and Education" and
"Reproduction.Rights in Jewish Law
This Hillel inspired Hillels across
the country when, last year, it spon-
The job is somewhat different for
sored the first Conference of Com-
Wayne State students David Kam, Sidney Katz, and Gil Stebbins.
.Special to The Jewish News