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Hillel: The International Jewish Organization Founded in Champaign

Written by Anna Trammell

The Hillel Foundation, the largest Jewish student organization in the world, traces its beginnings to the University of Illinois. In 1921, the young Rabbi Benjamin Frankel began serving in Champaign’s Temple Sinai. [1] Meeting the Jewish students on campus, he observed that they were “passively Jewish” [2] without the proper support and community available to allow their Jewish identity to strengthen during their years of study. “He realized they were without Jewish influence in the most formative years of their lives. He felt that they would go out to lead in their various communities with little thought of their Jewishness and their Judaism,” Rabbi Alfred M. Cohen wrote of Frankel.[3] Continue reading “Hillel: The International Jewish Organization Founded in Champaign”