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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

9

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Hillel JUC has made a tremendous difference in the lives of Jewish students on campus in Pittsburgh. I helped to start an organization in the late 90's called Shalom Pittsburgh, which was dedicated to attracting and maintaining the young adult Jewish population in Pittsburgh. But addressing our college and graduate students was more than we could handle. Aaron Weil changed that with his dynamic, visionary leadership and constant to attention to the needs of the students, not the organization. As a result, the Hillel JUC has grown to serve a much wider population than anyone could have imagined. Well done!

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.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is my second experience as a board member. As a professor at a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, the draw to the JUC is compelling both personally and professionally. Given the demographics of my university, there are a surprising number of Jewish students at both the UG and Grad levels. It is important to help connect these students - whether they are native Pittsburgh-ers or by choice, to the thriving Jewish community.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

A great, welcoming organization that came so far in my 4 years as a board member and Hillel organizer. It really provides something for everyone -- whether your interests are social justice, sports, Israel, volunteering, or just about anything else, it's really possible to find your niche and grow as a Jewish individual.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hillel JUC has been providing a Jewish community for Jewish college students for over 50 years. I have been on the board for 15 years and have seen seen our community grow dramatically through the help of great staff, a brand new building, and most importantly through the leadership of our students.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this organization for 10 years now in various capacities, and it has proved to be rewarding in each of those capacities. Whether it was introducing me to a new campus, helping with my job search, or getting me to meet new Jewish people in our community, the Hillel-JUC has always done an incredible job of welcoming me and my peers.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is the most dynamic organization I have ever been associated with. I am continually inspired by the students, whose reports are so enthusiastic, and by the creativity of the staff, who convert every challenge into an opportunity. All that's missing is more money.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have just joined the board and am so impressed with the fantastic environment at Hillel-JUC. What a wonderful home away from home for students. I have also joined Hillel's excellent program Family Ties, which is a great way for students to connect with the Jewish community.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

First of all I must tell you that my parents met at Hillel and have been married for 56 years! Hillel was not really avaliable to me at Chatham 31 years ago! Last year I was asked to be on the board and finally it clicked for me (with a senior in highschool)that if a college age kid is exposed to Hillel when they are away from home forming their own jewish idenity the more likely they will be to get involve in their own jewish community( or stay in Pittsburgh because of Hillel and a job of course) and marry someone jewish and raise their children jewish! Great organization!

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I first came to the University of Pittsburgh, my sister tried to get me involved with the Hillel JUC. My first experience at one of their events was a Shabbat dinner that she brought me to. I met a bunch of her friends at Hillel, and she introduced me to the staff there. The dinner seemed very nice, but after this experience, I admit that I was reluctant to be involved with Hillel. I thought that I would have too much work to concentrate on, and I also had a group of friends already, which I thought would occupy most of my free time. However, I continued to attend a few more events along with my sister, and quickly but surely, I realized how wrong my expectations were. I started attending more and more events offered that related to sports activities. One of the things that suprised me about Hillel was the vast variety of events and activities that they offered throughout the year. Towards the end of my first semester, I hadn't attended a ton of Hillel events, but I also realized that I had not volunteered in any way, which is something I try to do as often as I can. Because of this, I decided to come back to school after our winter break and try to become more involved with the social action committee. I met with the chair of the committee during the first week of the new semester and started attending their meetings. In this committee, I found a great group of people who had very genuine qualities about them and were fun to hang out with. The more events I started going to, the more I found how much I enjoyed being a part of Hillel, and I quickly began to make an entire new group of friends. Surely enough, I started playing a more crucial role in helping to plan events, and the Hillel JUC became an important part of my life at school. I am now the social action chair of the student board, and I do something related to Hillel at least once or twice a week. Some of the people I have met in the orginization have become some of my best friends here at school, including my girlfriend. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is that the best things happen to you when you are least expecting them to. This feeling could not be more true about my experience with the Hillel JUC.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a Pittsburgh resident who is participating in Hillel JUC's Family Ties program. My family was paired with a college student so that we can provide her with home away from home care and a place to share the Jewish holidays when she is unable to go home. This program is fantastic. We are getting so much from this sophomore student and, in speaking to her parents, she is enjoying us as well. I am impressed that this program was developed and implemented locally and may now be carried to other Hillel organizations around the country.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a 2nd year Board Member and a member of the Community Relations Committee. I am also a parent of a 25 year old who is involved in J'Burgh. As a parent, my husband and I are very happy that my daughter wants to participate in something Jewish. One aspect of J"Burgh is the Sports Program. If there is a game, my daughter is there!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been on the Hillel JUC's board since 1994. I'm now the President of the Board, and I'm so proud of how far this organization has come in the 15 years I've been active here! Hillel JUC provides a huge range of programs for students on the University campuses in Pittsburgh. But we've now reached beyond the campuses to create amazing links with the larger Pittsburgh Jewish community as well. The JUC's students are now integrated into the community as Sunday school teachers, camp counselors, tutors, babysitters, etc. Through the new "Family Ties" program students are being matched with community families. I know this is a great way for the students to have a home away from home, but it's also a great way for kids in the sponsor families to learn about college from a real college student, and about how to be a proud, connected Jewish young adult. Hillel JUC is also launching a program called "Hometown Pittsburgh," designed to help graduating students create excellent resumes, learn interviewing skills, and find their first internships/jobs in Pittsburgh. Hopefully this will give them what they need to stay in Pittsburgh after graduation.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

During most of High school, most of my extra curricular activities had to do with Judaism. I tutored B'nai Mitzvah students, I sang in a small High Holiday Ensemble, I was involved in my USY chapter, and many more "Jewish-orientated" activities. I found that when I was filling out applications for college that every job, community and volunteer experience was somehow related to Judaism. I wouldn't say that it necessarily bothered me, but when I came to Pitt, I sort of told myself that I was going to "stay away from Hillel" and try to become involved in other things...try to be a little more diverse. Within the first week, I auditioned and was accepted into The VoKols (Hillel's a cappella group) and attended Shabbat services and dinner. It was within that very first week of school that I realized that Hillel was a place that I was not going to be able to stay away from. I am involved in other activities, like I hoped to be, but Hillel has been such a positive and important part of college experience thus far. I have met great friends, found a few jobs and feel so lucky to have this active and warm community on our campus.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be a co-founder of a Jewish-American a cappella group nor a member of the Hillel student board. Not only that, but I went from having one or two Jewish friends in high school to having very few non-Jewish friends by the end of my freshman year of college. I attribute my friends, achievements and campus involvement all through Hillel. One vital aspect of Hillel is its weekly Shabbat dinners. They symbolize the one night of the week when all the stress, anger, sadness and craziness of everyday life come to a complete hault. It's a time to reconnect with friends and fellow students whom we may normally not get to communicate with on an otherwise daily basis. It's a time for students to come together and "leave their problems at the door". Furthermore, shabbat dinners are my moments of zen and what gets me through the week. The moment I walk in the door and see everyone all cleaned up, I take a deep breath, smile, and feel at home. Hillel's active involvement in the Pittsburgh community is phenomenal and unlike any other organization I have been a part of. From volunteering at the local food pantry to connecting graduate students through J'Burgh, Hillel has never failed to involve and reach out to the community nor Pitt, CMU and Duquesne's college campuses.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had a great experience being a board member of Hillel JUC for 3+ years. It is an organization that provides great programming and incredible services to its students. It has a wondeful and committed staff that I have enjoyed interacting with and I believe that other boards and organizations should look to Hillel JUC as a model for success.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first experience as a new Board member was greeting parents and students at move in day in the parking lots at CMU this fall. It was so gratifying to see how excited parents and students were to be connected to a Jewish setting away from home. I expected the brunch to be not well attended, but was amazed at the steady flow of people - the shy freshman slowly opening up to the more senior students adn the parents interacting with staff and Board members. Parents were grateful to know there would be a connection for the students and a safe place for parents to get help for a sick child or with any other need they may have. The reunion among the older students was what every parent would hope for - smiling faces, non-stop chatter. This experience was followed by attendance at Friday night Shabbat dinner several weeks later. Again, a packed room with student led prayers, invites to social events and healthy exchanges between the students. I just tried to take it all in - watching the youth who are our future come together out of a common bond of being Jewish regardless of how observant. I can't think of a better gift to a Jewish college student than a membership to Hillel and pre-paid Shabbat dinner attendance. Oh, and then there is Family Ties---I have adopted a junior at Pitt to be my "son" while he is away from home. What a great experience. Another way for me to learn about Hillel JUC and to connect my son to this great organization. Influencing one life at a time is what this Hillel JUC village does so well. The Hillel JUC is so much more and I look forward to all the new experiences I will have as a Board member - all of which I will pass along to my high school senior in the hope that he too will find his way to a Hillel JUC at the college he attends, wherever that turns out to be.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hillel has been an important part of my college experience. The staff is amazing and I always enjoy myself at shabbat meals. It really is a second home to not only me, but students that come to Pitt from afar. I have always felt welcomed!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I think that the Hillel JUC is one of the finest organizations in all of Pittsburgh. It is uniquely positioned because of its clientelle and excellent performance to make a lasting impact on the lives of individuals as they connect with the Jewish community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

The JUC had a powerful impact on my life. It gave me the opportunity to be a leader on campus and in the community. Through event planning, fundraising, cooperation with on and off campus groups, I was exposed to a wide array of responsibilities and challenges. My time as a board member and member at large of the JUC was the most important part of my college experience. I am still friends with many of my JUC peers and learned valuable lessons which I took with me through the rest of college, law school, and now my life as a young attorney. I worked hard to make sure Jewish Student Life thrived in Pittsburgh and to offer great programming to all those who were interested and even those who were not!