What is Hillel?
Hillel is the largest foundation for Jewish campus life in the world! It was first started at the University of Illinois in 1923. Today, there are more than 500+ campus chapters throughout the United States and Canada. The Hillel's mission statement is “to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.” The local goal of UNL’s Hillel is to be a place for fellow Jewish students to interact and socialize. We strive to provide a positive Jewish learning experience in a friendly environment.
Who was Hillel?
Hillel was a sage known for his wisdom. He founded a school of thought and had many disciples. His messages were great lessons during his time and still ring true today.
Hillel said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?"
Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
Synagogues in Lincoln
There are two synagogues in Lincoln. One reform and one conservative. Here is their information for students interested in getting involved in a Jewish community outside of Hillel.
3219 Sheridan Boulevard
Lincoln, NE 68502
Office: (402) 423-8569
2061 South 20th Street
Lincoln, NE 68502
Office: (402) 435-8004
Gaughan Multicultural Center
1505 S Street
Lincoln, NE 68508
Hillel at UNL
In 2002, the UNL Hillel was started back up (it had existed on this campus in earlier decades) by a small group of committed students. Our group holds a pluralistic vision of Judaism and understands that Jewish students on campus come from very diverse backgrounds, both within North America and from other continents. Events are targeted towards students of all spiritual backgrounds including Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. We hope to provide a “home away from home,” especially on Jewish holidays and festivals. Many our events and communal meals are held in the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center and the Student Union.
During the academic year, the UNL Hillel partakes in cultural and religious activities such as guest speakers, Holocaust remembrance, and philanthropic initiatives that involve the Jewish communities of Lincoln and Omaha. The UNL Hillel welcomes all students, regardless of their religious identity, that have an interest in learning about Judaism and Jewish life on campus. Members, friends of members, and students of all backgrounds are welcome to attend events we host. This includes students enrolled in any program of study as well as staff and faculty. Jewish students of other area campuses such as UNO, UNK, Creighton, and Southeast Community College are welcome to attend any programs. Events are always free of admission unless stated otherwise!
Here are some of the activities our group has during the academic year:
- Bi-monthly Friday evening Shabbat dinners
- Attending services at Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox synagogues for Shabbat and other holidays
- Host Rosh Hashanah dinner, “Break the Fast” after Yom Kippur, annual Chanukah and Purim Parties, and Passover Seder
- Building the first Sukkah on campus
- Organizing joint events with Jewish students from other college campuses