How open should Hillels be?


In dueling JTA Op-Eds, Boston College senior Evan Goldstein argues with Hillel International’s chief, Eric Fingerhut, over how open Hillel chapters should be when it comes to Israel discourse.

The Op-Eds come as the Open Hillel campaign — a student-led effort to change Hillel International’s rules barring partnerships with groups Hillel considers anti-Israel or anti-Semitic — holds its first-ever conference, at Harvard University.

Goldstein argues:

By enforcing standards that alienate a significant cohort of the Jewish student population, Hillel International has failed to foster an inclusive space for all members of the Jewish community. While this may please certain vocal and powerful elements of the American political establishment, it ultimately amounts to an abandonment of many Jewish students and a weakening of the Jewish community.

Fingerhut says:

Hillel is sponsoring a broad range of programs to help students understand the issues and how they will affect Israel and its neighbors in the future. Hillel professionals have heard presentations from both the Israeli ambassador to the United States and the leader of the opposition in the Knesset. Hillel student leaders have organized interfaith gatherings and intercultural dialogues. Hillel educators have offered seminars and discussions for students to learn about contemporary Israeli society and culture…

Read Fingerhut’s Op-Ed here and Goldstein’s here.

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