Campus News

Hillel of Buffalo celebrates 75 years of enriching students’ lives

Hillel of Buffalo celebrated their 75th anniversary with an event at the Center for the Arts on UB's North Campus in May 2022. .

An estimated 200 students, alumni, faculty, staff, university leaders and members of the greater Buffalo Jewish community attended Hillel’s 75th anniversary celebration in the Center for the Arts. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By VICTORIA SANTOS

Published June 6, 2022

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“It was such a special experience to celebrate this milestone. The room was filled with a joyful energy that comes from gathering in celebration of a cause that is dear to all of us: supporting Jewish students, who are our future community leaders. ”
Rabbi Sara Rich, executive director
Hillel of Buffalo

Since 1946, Hillel of Buffalo has been a center for Jewish life at UB, serving as a nurturing community for generations of Jewish students. To commemorate its 75th anniversary, Hillel hosted a gala in the Center for the Arts in the closing weeks of the spring semester.

According to Rabbi Sara Rich, executive director of Hillel of Buffalo, an estimated 200 students, alumni, faculty, staff, university leaders like President Satish K. Tripathi and members of the greater Buffalo Jewish community attended the celebration.

“It was such a special experience to celebrate this milestone,” Rich said. “The room was filled with a joyful energy that comes from gathering in celebration of a cause that is dear to all of us: supporting Jewish students, who are our future community leaders.”

Gala festivities included a student a cappella performance by the Royal Pitches, a screening of a short documentary on the organization and special presentations.

“We enjoyed honoring Abby Feldman, a student, with the Feuerstein Family Tzedakah Award for her community service work. We also presented UB alumni Steven and Ellen Weiss with our Distinguished Alumni Award, and recognized Dr. Jeffrey Lackner, chief of the UB Division of Behavioral Medicine, with the Exceptional Leadership Award,” Rich said.

Hillel of Buffalo has served as a vital hub for both Jewish and non-Jewish students on the UB campus. In recent years, Hillel has diversified its programmatic offerings to touch the lives of students with a variety of personal and academic interests, from yoga and cooking classes to Jewish educational seminars and Israeli cultural programs. Hillel connects students with each other, and in times of need offers resources and the support of a caring, dedicated staff.

From left, Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner, Rabbi Sara Rich, Aviva Zucker Snyder and President Satish Tripathi.

Hillel of Buffalo has served as a vital hub for both Jewish and non-Jewish students at UB for the past 75 years. Joining the celebration were (from left) SUNY Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner; Rabbi Sara Rich, executive director of Hillel of Buffalo; Aviva Snyder, campus support director for Hillel International; and President Satish K. Tripathi. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

“Hillel of Buffalo is an exciting, accessible, multifaceted hub of Jewish student life that enhances students’ success with opportunities to gain professional life skills, to learn, grow and make a difference in ways they find meaningful — all within a culture of acceptance and inclusivity that celebrates the cultural, religious and social aspects of Judaism,” Rich said.

Hillel serves as a resource for the larger Jewish collegiate community in Western New York, including students at SUNY Buffalo State, and seeks to keep students in Buffalo after graduation by connecting them to the area’s welcoming Jewish community, and to internships in the local business community and nonprofit sector.

One recent initiative that began this academic year was the creation of the role of a Buffalo community Jewish educator — now filled by Alex Green, visiting associate professor in the Department of Jewish Thought — that aims to connect UB students with the Buffalo Jewish community to address challenges and foster greater collaboration. The project is a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences, the Buffalo Jewish Federation and Hillel of Buffalo

Hillel also offers a summer internship program that places students in internships with local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Students work Monday through Thursday gaining important work experience in their fields of interest, and then on Friday gather with Hillel for professional development and site visits around Buffalo.

Hillel of Buffalo, located in Suite 101B in the UB Commons on the North Campus, is open to students from all local colleges and universities.