Hillel Pioneers New Approach to Celebrating 85 Years

At a time when the global economic downturn is forcing organizations and donors to be more thrifty than ever, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is sponsoring a virtual international gala that lowers overhead costs and enables anyone and everyone to participate.

The world’s largest Jewish campus organization has canceled its annual black-tie gala dinner in New York City to host a series of community-based celebrations in 25 cities on four continents.

“There are people around the globe whose lives have been touched by Hillel over the past 85 years, who know personally the value of fostering a vibrant Jewish life on campus,” said Diane Wohl, the organization’s 85th birthday chair, “We want to celebrate with them, to offer them a chance to reconnect with their rich Hillel tradition and to give them the opportunity to play a vital role in sustaining it.”

From Anchorage to Manhattan and on to Jerusalem, Moscow and Montevideo, friends of Hillel will host parties – on June 14th in their homes, in public parks, and in bars.

The parties will be connected by live global webcast, broadcast from the Rockville, Maryland, home of Hillel President Wayne Firestone, featuring Hillel leadership and special guests.

“By hosting parties in their homes, Hillel supporters are not only helping the organization’s bottom line, they are demonstrating the impact Hillel has made on their lives,” said Dr. Lynne B. Harrison, recipient of the Hillel’s 85th Birthday Founder’s Award. “Their enthusiasm reflects Hillel’s history as a community-based international organization rooted in one-to-one relationships.”

“Hillel is an organization that has been built from the campus on up,” said President Wayne L. Firestone, “This celebration underscores our effort at lifelong engagement in building Jewish life on campus.”