Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh is one of the best Hillels in the country. Their director is terrific and they are at the forefront of student engagement.
The Hillel JUC continues to be a leading Hillel within the Hillel family. As a sn executive w/Hillel I have been extremely impressed with the JUC's ability to engage jewish students on campus. Their creative programs combined with a 1st class staff and strong lay leadership board has enabled this Hillel to be one of the leading Hillel's in the US.
I am constantly looking at their programming calendar, marketing materials, and vision and learning from them. They have some of the best marketing materials in the Hillel world.
The Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh offers an incredible array of programs and services for Jewish students. I am constantly inspired and impressed by their level of service to Jewish students and in creating Jewish community. They continue to be creative and push the envelope as a Hillel to connect students to their place in the Jewish story. Through programs like Campus Superstar they reach well beyond their building and delve deep into campus to make and impact.
I have been a teacher at Hillel JUC numerous times. Each time I am there, I am so very impressed with the level of learning that goes on among the students. In session after session, it is plain that Hillel JUC has stimulated a strong affiliation to and enthusiasm for Judaism on campus. Their wonderful building is a focal point for Jewish campus life, and a magnet for building community among a large number of young Jewish adults.
Our daughter, a sophomore honors student at PITT benefits from Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh. There she meets her friends, celebrates Jewish life, enjoys communal meals and knows she has a safe place if she is having any issues as a Jewish student on campus. Hillel's presence is an active voice for assuring that the campus responds with sensitivity to issues of Jewish Concern. It is a place where students convene for social action and for interfaith activity.
My most recent encounter with the Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh came through a moment of great silliness. I am a professor of history at CMU and was invited by Hillel to take one side in the annual "Great Hamantaschen Debate" in spring 2008. The debate question is which is the better holiday food, the hamantaschen or the latke? I argued on behalf of the hamantaschen. To my surprise, as I was preparing I discovered that this odd event actually has a deep and rich history in American academia, and I found myself neglecting some of my other work to write up the pro-hamantaschen ideas that began popping into my mind like popcorn in the week or two before the event. I was actually laughing alone at my computer. The night of the event was a real eye-opener for me. I was shocked at how many students attended the event. I was delighted to see how comfortable they felt, how good the food was, and what good spirits everyone was in. It was a lovely event, plus I won the debate. I am impressed that Hillel's activities range from the more traditional religious activities to something fun like this. My only constructive feedback would be to include some fruit or vegetables with dinner on the Great Debate night. A dinner of fried potato pancakes and baked pastry got a little heavy pretty fast!
Amazing organization for the students as well as the community. We always attend their babysitting program and their Campus Superstar program. When Jewish student come to Pitt, I always suggest JUC and I have only heard good things about it.
Unlike other Hillels, JUC does not simply serve college students. With its high school and young adult programming, Hillel JUC now truly serves a wide, incredibly vulnerable swath of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Its close relationships with local synagogues and organizations allow its staff to provide programs and services that far surpass other Hillels, whose focus may be limited to their respective campuses. I cannot emphasize enough the profound impact Hillel JUC has on Pittsburgh's Jewish community, or how grateful we are that its staff is so dedicated to Pittsburgh as a whole.
I worked in planning and funding with Hillel JUC and had an opportunity to meet regularly with the Director and President. Hillel JUC is an amazing organization. It is wonderful to walk through the building to see all of the student run programss and to feel the buzz of energy that exists there. JUC provides great resources to students. The activities that are run inside and outside of the building are wonderful, spanning across universities and religous affiliations. Hillel JUC has been recognized nationally and by several of the universities that they serve as a top notch organization. Most telling is a Friday night at the building when three different services are going on and dinner is filled to capacity and beyond!