Hillel under way with groundbreaking
Boston University's new $12 million Hillel House moved a large step from
conception toward construction with a ceremonial groundbreaking on May
20. Construction on the building, named for lead donors Leonard Florence
(SMG'54, Hon.'01) and Irwin Chafetz (CAS'58), is scheduled to begin this
Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress and chairman
of Hillel's International Board of Governors, told the more than 250 attendees,
"It is terribly important that Jews be proud of their Judaism. This
new magnificent building will help make thousands of students at Boston
University proud of who they are. I want to say thank you to Boston University
for being so willing to be such a good friend of the Jewish people and
of its Jewish students."
Bronfman, Rabbi Joseph Polak (Hon.'95), director of BU's Hillel since
1970, President Jon Westling, Chancellor John Silber, BU Board of Trustees
Chairman Richard DeWolfe (MET'71), Florence, Chafetz, and other guests
dug their silver spades into the ground at the site of the new building,
on Bay State Road just east of the current Hillel Building.
The new three-story structure will almost triple the space currently available
at BU's half-century-old Hillel. It will feature separate synagogues for
Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform services, first-class kosher dining
facilities, meeting and reception areas, student lounges, and offices.
"In the past 10 years more than three dozen Hillels across the country
have constructed new facilities or refurbished existing ones," said
Bronfman. "In every instance student participation in Hillel programs
and activities has increased exponentially."
Polak spoke warmly of the encouragement he has received from the University,
from donors, and from the national Hillel organization. He said that the
new building will help keep BU attractive to Jewish students in the Northeast:
"We want Jewish students to stay Jewish by creating a Jewish community
here so strong the need to assimilate evaporates."
For more information, visit www.bu.edu/alumni/hillel/tomorrow/index.html.