Campus Affairs & Student Engagement

Mensch’s Guide to Campus Activism

Guide to Campus Activism

A Mensch's Guide to Campus Activism
Connecting college students to worldly issues.


The Hillels of Illinois
Regional Programs
30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
phone: (312) 444-2868
fax: (312) 855-2479

Lewis Summer
Intern Program
The Hillels of Illinois
30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
phone: (312) 444-2868

College Blog

Hillel Blog

Campuses experiencing flurry of anti-Israel activity

(General, Israel, Activism, Education, Levine Hillel at UIC, UIUC Hillel at the Cohen Center, Newberger Hillel at U of C, Hillels Around Chicago, Remote Campuses) Permanent link

UIUC Student ImageWhen Israel-supporting faculty and students returned from winter break last January, they found an escalation of hostility toward Israel and its supporters that occasionally crossed boundaries from civil exchange to verbal abuse and physical intimidation. This new intensity of anti-Israel activity followed upon the kind of behavior seen in Chicago and throughout the world during Israel’s most recent war with the terrorist group Hamas, said JUF Executive Vice President Michael C. Kotzin, who has been working with campus activists and Hillel to address anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments and activities.

Students motivated to showcase different sides of Israel

(General, Israel, Activism, Education, Levine Hillel at UIC, UIUC Hillel at the Cohen Center, Newberger Hillel at U of C, Hillels Around Chicago, Loyola Hillel) Permanent link

NW Israel PhotoAs a reaction to growing anti-Israel sentiment on many Chicago-area campuses, Jewish students and faculty are re-asserting their support for Israel. With the support of Hillel and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) professionals, students are initiating Israel-related programming that is not just responsive, but proactive. Initiatives on and off campus are also providing students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, with opportunities to learn more about Israel.

In its sixth year, Russian Shabbaton continues to engage Jewish students

(General, Israel, Holidays, Education, Russian Students, Levine Hillel at UIC, Hillels Around Chicago) Permanent link

Passport ShabbatonWhat happens when 96 Russian-speaking college students and young professionals gather for a weekend of Jewish learning? “A sense of instant community,” is Steve Bogdanov’s answer.

Bogdanov, who was born in Minsk and came to the United States in 1995, was among the participants at the sixth annual Russian Shabbaton and Birthright Israel Reunion, the flagship event of Russian Hillel, which is a program of Hillels Around Chicago. The Shabbaton, which was held Feb. 20-22 at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, began in 2004 with the goal of offering Russian-speaking Jewish young adults in Chicago a venue to meet each other and learn together. This year’s Shabbaton attracted participants from Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Tampa, Fla.

ASB: Connecting Jewishly through social justice

(General, Holidays, Activism, Education, Levine Hillel at UIC, Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern, Newberger Hillel at U of C, Hillels Around Chicago) Permanent link

ASB StudentsThroughout The Hillels of Illinois system, students are participating in a variety of Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB) designed to give students powerful experiences relating to Jewish values of tzedakah, helping others and building community.

Tranforming life on campus

(General, Education, Newberger Hillel at U of C) Permanent link

LibensonWhen Daniel Libenson describes his vision to a group, detailing an intricate plan to transform Jewish life on campus, he gets excited. Happily making his pitch with diagrams and figures, explaining how Hillel can more effectively connect students to Jewish life in a lasting, meaningful way, Libenson himself inspires as he illustrates Hillel’s potential to impact Jewish lives.

This year, under Libenson, the Newberger Hillel at the University of Chicago has implemented the first phase of the Jethro Initiative, a four-year model for engaging students in Jewish life as well as facilitating their growth and connection to Jewish life in adulthood. The program and the thought behind it are gaining much attention in the Hillel world and the Jewish community at large.

In a one-on-one conversation, Libenson talked about Newberger’s work with the Jethro Initiative.

Students meet their matches at Hillel

(General, Holidays, Levine Hillel at UIC, UIUC Hillel at the Cohen Center, Newberger Hillel at U of C) Permanent link

Dmitry and YelenaJewish mothers and fathers typically want their college-aged Jewish son to meet a nice Jewish girl; for their daughter, a nice Jewish boy. They might often express this sentiment to their college age son or daughter by the ever so delicate nudging to visit his or her campus Hillel.

While this might seem like a slightly worn joke, Hillel is still often viewed as—or even expected to be—a place where young Jewish singles can meet, get married and then together carry on the legacy of the entire Jewish people. The reality is that many young couples do in fact meet in their student Jewish communities and, through Hillel, establish lasting partnerships.

Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern named Indispensable Campus Partner

(General, Education, Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern) Permanent link

Fiedler CeremonyFielder Hillel at Northwestern University--and its staff (pictured)--was named an Indispensable Campus Partner at Hillel’s Professional Staff Conference in Baltimore and awarded the Vision & Values Award for enriching the quality of Jewish student life and the entire campus community. Fiedler was honored for its establishment of valued and integrated relationships on campus and for its initiatives, like, bringing together students and faculty of various backgrounds.

Jewish students network between remote campuses

(General, Activism, Supporting Jewish Campus Life, Remote Campuses) Permanent link

The Campus BeatJewish student life is reaching even the state’s more remote college campuses.

On campuses distant from Chicago’s large Jewish community, Jewish students are showing a commitment to their student communities’ development. At a meeting in Peoria, Ill., a number of Jewish students from various schools and their advisers recently connected and shared ideas.

As Hillel programs expland, so do opportunities to do Shabbat

(Holidays, Levine Hillel at UIC, Hillels Around Chicago, Loyola Hillel) Permanent link

ShabbatA tasty Shabbat dinner—especially one at no charge—has often proven to be one of the most effective entry points to involvement with the campus Jewish community. For students coming from more Jewishly observant homes, the Shabbat dinner at their campus Hillel is a familiar place meeting their religious needs. And for so many other Jewish students, the Shabbat dinner at their campus Hillel is often their first Shabbat dinner ever.