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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Judaism, Religion, Undergraduate Colleges, Youth Development - Religious Leadership

Mission: The Hillel JUC is the focal point for more than 5,500 Jewish University students and young professionals in Pittsburgh. Our mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. Together, we are building a new generation of Jewish leaders. Some call it Jewish life on campus. We call it... the future.

Geographic areas served: Pittsburgh

Programs: Provides religious, cultural and social services to students in the pittsburgh area.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a parent of an active Hillel student volunteer, I have seen first hand the many ways that Hillel is making a difference in the local community and beyond. Hillel reached out to our daughter before she even arrived on campus as a freshman at Pitt. She suggested that we visit during orientation and the welcome feeling that we experienced and the feeling of being at home was one that continues every time we walk in the building! Hillel has made a tremendous impact on our daughters life- she is now a senior at Pitt and has been active in the student board. Through her invovlement I have watched her grow into dymanic leader and community volunteer. It would be hard to capture in a short review the many ways that Hillel has positively impacted our daughter. I am truly thankful that this organization is her home away from home and for the many wonderful staff and volunteers that make Hillel

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

AS A BOARD MEMBER OF HILLEL JUC OF PITTSBURGH I FIND IT VERY REWARDING TO SEE THE GROWTH OF THIS ORGANIZATION IN THE PAST 6 YEARS SINCE OUR EXEC DIRECTO AARON WEIL TOOK OVER THE REINS. IT IS GREAT TO SEE ALL THE COLLEGE STUDENTS FROM 3 UNIVERSITIES ATTEND TO ENHANCE THEIR JEWISH WAY OF LIVING, OUR J BURGH WHERE WE HAVE I WONDERFUL LEADER IN DAVID KATZ BRING OUR 23-29 YEAR OLD TO GETHER FOR THEIR JEWISH EXPERIENCE.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I AM A BOARD MEMBER OF THE PITTSBURGH JUC HILLEL AND HAVE BEEN FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS AND HAVE SEEN ITS GROWTH IN THIS TIME TO ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AGENCIES IN PITTSBURGH. AND NOW THAT WE HAVE ADDED J'BURGH TO OUR AGENDA IT HAS PROVEN TO BE MUCH BETTER. I WAS A MEMBER OF THIS SAME BOARD 30 YEARS AGO AND THE DIFFERENCE IS DAY AND NIGHT. YEARS AGO COLLEGE STUDENTS DID NOT WANT TO ATTEND HILLEL. BUT NOW WITH THEIR PROGRAMING AND THE ENTHUSIASIM THE BULIDING IS BEING USED. J'BURGH HAS BEEN FANTASTIC FOR COLLEGE GRADS AND YOUNG JEWISH POFESSIONALS IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA. THERE ARE 2500 JEWISH ADULTS IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA AND WEHAVE ABOUT 900 INVOLVED WITH J'BURGH. THIS HAS BEEN DONE THRU HARD WORK OF OUR HILLEL DIRECTOR, AARON WEIL AND J'BURGH DIRECTOR DAVID KATZ. ALSO THE OFFICERS AND BOARD OF JUC HILLEL ARE TO BE COMMENDED FOR WORKING SO HARD TO MAKE SURE OUR MISSION IS FULFILLED.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Wether it's running services or a program, the Hillel JUC does an excellent job making jewish life accessible to any student who comes by and makes it engaging.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh has broken the mold, bringing programs and opportunities for identity building out onto the campus where the students are, rather than waiting for the students to find them.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved when I was brought by a friend to a Shabbat dinner, where more than a hundred kids were singing, praying, and eating together. It was a wonderful, emotional thing to watch. It made me know that this Hillel is very special and an organization I want to be part of.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on the Birthright trip in 2006, and afterward spent time at Hillel. I enjoyed exploring my culture and getting to know others like myself and participating in events related to my background. I would definitely recommend Hillel to others looking to explore their heritage in a welcoming environment that also has no fees.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Hillel does an excellent job providing resources and support to Jewish students and campus organizations. In particular, the organization I work for has been able to fully fund Jewish programming for a number of years, helping to foster Jewish identity and participation in the students we represent. Recent economic conditions have caused some issues, but the organization as a whole runs very efficiently. Somewhat seperately, at least in the minds of students, Hillel has been the center of Friday Night observance for the Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and Duquesne campuses, a fact that has allowed me to make friends across Pittsburgh and keep in touch regularly.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the honor and pleasure of serving as chair of the board of directors at the Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh from 2006-2008. Prior to that, I served on the board for 6 years on various committees. Being able to see first hand the passion and commitment that the staff and volunteers have in communicating their mission to the community has been an amazing experience for me. I believe very strongly that our future as a Jewish community will be as a result of the connections made through the programs and work being done here.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They have been very active on the college campuses in Pittsburgh, bringing in interesting speakers and being a positive advocate for Israel on campus. It is a really special organization and one in which the limelight should shine. Rena Becker

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been active at Hillel Jewish University Center in Pgh for many years. The programs for the students are exciting and thought provoking. There is always something going on to keep the students informed and connected to Jewish life on campus and the Pittsburgh community. My husband and I have hosted many Shabbat dinners at Hillel and are involved in fundraising and "Campus Superstar"

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to the Hillel as a curious freshman just looking for a place to make new friends, have fun, and to serve as an outlet for my passions in college. I wasn't sure if Judaism was really important to me, but I'd been involved with NFTY in high school, so it seemed like a good place to start. From Hillel, I learned the incredible value of connecting with other Jews on campus. My Hillel friends - now my best friends at Pitt - are role models to me. And they're interested in the same things I am: social justice, spirituality, and fun. At a confusing age, I found my own identity in the Hillel community. In a world where money is needed to put food in hungry mouths and bring about political change, that may seem like a luxury. But Hillel's programming taught me (and others) how to do those other things, and why we should. Social action programs like Cram Jam showed me effective fundraising techniques like raffles, prizes, and donation-friendly events. Friday night dinners and services make me stop and think about how lucky I am, and how I can share my fortune with others. Educational programs like Rabbi Schiff's discussion group on sex stimulate my thinking. Hillel molds the future Jewish leaders of America, and the world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Hi, I am a Jewish Pittsburgh resident. I have lived here most of my life and love the city we have. I have been involved with our local JUC in several capacities, but this time... My family and I have volunteered for a program called "Family Ties"...A new idea of connecting jewish students from out of the area with local families in the area. The connection is meant to be on any level that works. We have hosted our student once in our home and once in our neighborhood. Unfortunately,.. just last week, she was unexpectantly hospitalized. We were her contact family... We were able to let her parents who know that she was fine and in good hands. Somewhat of a weird introduction between the two families, but I look forward to meeting her parents one on one in the near future. Great idea for a new program....

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Outstanding outreach for Jewish students. Parents are reassurred that their children have a "Jewish" home when they are away at college. Students find a place where they can be around others like themselves. Friday night dinners are a spectacular hit, especially for first year students.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My experience with Hillel JUC has been essential to my college experience thus far. Having joined the VoKols, Hillel's a capella group, as a freshman, I was immediately exposed to the facility and staff, and quickly learned what an incredible resource the Hillel JUC can be for college students in Pittsburgh. Shabbat dinners have become a staple in my week, serving as both a social event and an opportunity to communally practice Judaism in a pluralistic and inclusive setting. I have also, with the help of staff and other students, begun a student initiative for organic urban farming and cooking, using Hillel's new kitchen facility. The continuous support I receive from every staff member encourages me to develop programming and, in turn, further develop my own leadership skills.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have used Hillel JUC as a source for college-age students nearby. Why would a family with school age children care? We've gone to the Hillel well for two different purposes. First, we participated in its "speed dating" babysitting matches. We found a babysitter who followed our religious traditions. More recently, we "adopted" a student for occasional meals and holidays. We are a resource for him -- we've added to his knowledge of ice cream stores, and his ability to pull together a Halloween costume. For our children, they see someone just a few years older than themselves living independently (and Jewishly, too).

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hillel JUC is a tremendous resource not only for the students at Pitt and CMU and other area colleges and universities, but the JUC is a great asset for the larger Pittsburgh community as well. Advocating for Jewish issues on campus - politically, socially and in the academic realm - Pittsburgh's larger Jewish community is much enhanced for the work of the staff, board and student leaders of JUC!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a student at Carnegie Mellon I found the Hillel to be a great social resource as well as a link to the greater community. Having attended a good number of their events, I took on a volunteer role in planning and programming as a freshmen which I continued through my senior year. Through that exposure I met people in the Jewish community and campus community, as well as people that Hillel brought in from Israel and other organizations to take part in our activities and to engage us. Both participating as a community member and volunteering in this organization were important growth opportunities for me that I wish I still had in my professional life. I still have ties to the community that tell me the group is still engaging and as vital as ever and it makes me happy to hear.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hillel JUC served as not only an influential organization during my college years, but also a place to call home. How often in college, can you find a place where you feel comfortable to be yourself and have a space where you can hang out forever. I formed a wonderful community of peers and staff that made a large university feel much smaller and feel a greater connection to city of Pittsburgh. Hillel completed my college experience and it was one of the best decisions I made in college.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was a student at CMU for five years, and lived in Pittsburgh for two more years after that. Hillel is the primary location for Jewish life in Pittsburgh for those who are unmarried, without kids, and not living with their parents. As a student, I joined the student board and founded a sub-organization for Reform Jews within Hillel. I heard from my peers that other Hillels were not welcoming to those who were not Orthodox -- but the Hillel JUC serves effectively as an umbrella organization, welcoming all Jews in the area. Aaron Weil, the executive director, is an expert at trying new approaches to engage students of all types in Jewish activities. Hillel is a place of community and ritual, as well as great opportunity. For example, through Hillel and Kesher, I traveled to Israel twice and Argentina once. Though there is a significant rift between CMU students and Pitt students -- exacerbated by the split programming and leadership that Hillel staff provide -- Hillel is a very diverse, friendly place for Jews at all times. With a variety of programs, there's something to match all interests. Hillel provides a platform on which students and staff work together to make Jewish life great for students in Pittsburgh.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved with the Hillel JUC as a freshman in college. I found it to be an environment that was warm and welcoming. The building became my second home, and the staff my second family. The weekly Friday Shabbat services and dinners were my favorite part of the week. It was a chance for a good meal and to be surrounded friends and community members. It allowed me to connect with the larger Pittsburgh Jewish community and meet mentors. Some of the specific aspects I was involved in include freshmen orientation, social justice programming, and volunteering for Hillel's annual fundraiser. Through these experiences I saw firsthand the impact of Hillel on Pitt's campus, and on the students that it touches. It is a leader of social justice events on campus, and often cosponsors events on important issues such as Darfur.