Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Yesterday, the Vassar Jewish Union (VJU), a chapter of Hillel International, declared itself an Open Hillel. They became the second Hillel in the nation to do so, following Swarthmore’s chapter.
Vassar Jewish Union President Naomi Dann referenced Swarthmore Hillel’s decision last December in shaping VJU’s decision.
“The Swarthmore decision brought the Open Hillel movement to our attention, and inspired us to follow in its footsteps,” she said.
The goal of the Open Hillel movement is to make Hillel-affiliated Jewish organizations on college campuses open to dialogue around the Israel-Palestine conflict. Dann stressed this open discussion as important to VJU.
“The Open Hillel movement provided us with a platform to express the values of openness and inclusivity practiced by our organization, and is especially relevant to the campus climate at Vassar right now around issues relating to the Israel/Palestine conflict,” she said.
Members of Swarthmore Hillel applauded the decision, seeing it as a step forward for the Open Hillel movement and open discourse.
“As we proceed to explore what it means for us at Swarthmore to be an Open Hillel, we are glad see that the Vassar Jewish Union has also spoken out and challenged Hillel International to be a truly diverse, inclusive Foundation for Jewish Campus Life,” Swarthmore Hillel Communications Director Joshua Wolfsun ‘16 said.
Featured image taken from vsa.vassar.edu