“Welcome! Come on in, take a seat on a comfortable, chintzy couch under these weird ball-shaped lights, participate in the activity or don’t, whatever works, just come and chill.”
Welcome is right. Because, “welcome” is how every student at Queens College first feels when they walk into the Hillel space no matter their religious affiliation, race, denomination, etc. What is Hillel? Like a typical college student, I turn to Wikipedia and search the word Hillel. “Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life (simply known as Hillel International or Hillel) is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, working with thousands of college students globally. Hillel’s stated mission is “to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”
Hillel Student President Abby Zeigler said, “Hillel’s mission is truly to empower students and help build a diverse Jewish community where everyone can feel welcome. Hillel has helped me greatly to develop as a leader. It is incredibly rewarding to see friendships develop and students benefiting from all that we do.”
In short, Hillel is the place to be to relax, to make great friends, and to eat a tremendous volume of free food. Speaking of free food, on select Friday nights you can join the Hillel in the dining hall for a full, 3-course meal that is generously sponsored by the Hillel Foundation. All are invited! Just keep an eye out on the Hillel Facebook page and register.
The next FFND (Free Friday Night Dinner) is on the night of December 1st. The QC Hillel also runs many other activities.
They have hosted “Make-your-own-Sundae,” “Paint-a-Surfboard,” and “Decorate-a-Cupcake” events, to name a few. There are constantly interesting and unique events taking place, as well as events you might have never imagined taking part in. Make sure to take the time to look at the QC Hillel Facebook page to keep up with their various free-hour activities.
The Hillel also consists of many committees that run various forms of programming throughout the year. The Jewish holidays, for example, will be elevated through extensive programming that includes meals, parties, games, raffles and more!
This past Simchat Torah (a Jewish Holiday celebrating the giving of the Bible to the Jewish people), the Hillel hosted nearly 150 students in a massive celebratory event.
Other forms of programming include many social justice initiatives, like an electronics drive for community centers and an intensive and participatory program regarding racial justice and mass incarceration.
Regarding the Hillel programming, Hillel Vice-President Ariella Fuzailof said “Hillel Club is always striving to create more and better programs and events. We want to create an environment where everyone is welcome and everyone finds what’s right for them.” By the amount of students that partake in the Hillel’s activities, they are surely succeeding.
The Hillel space is also simply an awesome place to just hang out. There’s a ping-pong table, a snack/coffee/tea table, a large collection of board games, and even computers to get some work done on.
There are afternoon prayers, religious lectures, and Jewish Learning Initiatives on Campus (JLIC) programs in the Beit Midrash (learning space) for those interested.
Ricardo Vega, a freshman who is majoring in computer science, said“Yo man, the Hillel is lit.”