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Rutgers Hillel to Break Ground for Halpern Hillel House

New Brunswick–Ground will be broken at 11 a.m., Friday, November 21, at 70 College Avenue in the heart of Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus for the spectacular new Eva and Arie Halpern Hillel House, new home of New Jersey’s flagship Hillel. Hillel has been conducting an $18 Million Capital and Endowment Campaign to build and operate the new structure.

Rutgers Hillel, which serves a Jewish student population of 6,000 undergraduates and more than 1,200 graduate students, has become a national model of programming excellence, according to Hillel Board President Roy Tanzman. In praising the Halpern family’s gift, Tanzman said: “Our state deserves a world-class Hillel and the Eva and Arie Halpern Hillel House will be the finest campus building in the nation. More than ever, we can say proudly that ‘Rutgers is a great place to be Jewish.’”

The building has been dedicated in memory of noted philanthropists and Jewish community leaders Eva and Arie Halpern with a $3 million gift–the largest in the Campaign thus far–from their five children. Eva and Arie were Polish survivors of the Holocaust whose first spouses died at young ages. The two married and blended their two families with Eva bringing her sons Henry and Ben Stein, and Arie his daughters Bella, Shelley, and Nanette.

Rutgers Hillel has raised more than 75% of its $18 million Capital and Endowment Campaign goal, which was initiated with a $2 million gift from Jewish community leaders and international philanthropists Audrey and Zygi Wilf and Jane and Mark Wilf.

Hillel’s new 35,000 -square-foot student center features a 400-seat kosher dining hall; individual prayer space for Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform services; a unique indoor-outdoor kosher caf?; a Center for Israel Engagement; exhibit gallery; social lounges; meeting rooms; and an outdoor patio. The spacious and welcoming lobby will include a Legacy Wall dedicated to the memories of Rutgers Hillel’s first executive director, Rabbi Julius Funk and his wife Pearl.

Designed by the architectural firms of Kann Partners of Baltimore and Guzzo & Guzzo Architects of Lyndhurst, the new Hillel House is of a warm and inviting design reminiscent of a mountain lodge with student lifestyle touches like an indoor and outdoor lounge, a signature staircase, and a welcoming, high-ceilinged lobby.

The campus work of Hillel is entirely focused on the most critical age cohort in the Jewish world. Ninety percent of college-age Jews attend an institution of higher learning. The college years are the last in which the organized Jewish community can make a significant impact on Jewish young adults. Hillel is ideally positioned to make a positive difference in their lives. “Second to the State of Israel itself,” Getraer said, “Hillel is arguably the most important organization in the world for Jewish continuity.”

Construction has begun on the 70 College Avenue site with completion expected in the fall semester of 2015. Anthony Guzzo is the architect-in-charge. Idan Levin of Construction Management Resources, LLC, provides owner representation and project management. 70 College Avenue Construction, LLC, of Woodbridge, is the contractor.

Rutgers Hillel is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federations of Greater MetroWest, NJ; Greater Middlesex County; Monmouth County; Princeton Mercer Bucks; Northern New Jersey; Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties; and Southern New Jersey.

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