Hillel is a community for Jewish students at hundreds of universities across the world. Through this organization, Jewish students can create positive memories with peers.

This past week, Hillel at Arizona State University (ASU) held its largest event yet, “Hillelchella.”

This was held on Nov. 17, and welcomed bands to play, and various activities like henna artists, Kona Shaved Ice Truck, cornhole and more.

‘’This is the first time any Hillel, I think, has done something like this,” said Jake Shulman, Community Experience Specialist for
Hillel at ASU.

They invited several music groups like MusicByElijah, The Vinyl Faces, and an a capella group, Priority Male. The idea is that at least one person from each group was Jewish.

“Hillel is an international organization that will be celebrating its centennial in 2023. Since then there have been Hillels popping up all across the entire world. The mission is to enrich the lives
of Jewish students so that they can enrich the Jewish people, Israel and the world,” said Debbie Yunker Kail, the executive director for Hillel at ASU.

With a rise of antisemitism throughout college campuses, nonetheless, Hillel continues to open centers on new campuses. Three years ago, Hillel adopted a Campus Climate Initiative (CCI), a program effort to make students on campus feel comfortable amidst antisemitism. Just this year, CCI added 12 new campuses.

In 2021, there were 2,717 recorded antisemitic incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is a record high for the United States, as
well as a 61 percent increase in attacks against synagogues and Jewish Community Centers.

Hillel invites anybody, Jewish or not. Shulman said, “The event is open to anyone with the idea that this is an event for everyone to show the ASU and wider community what the Jewish community is all about. We are in inclusive and welcoming of everyone.”

Hillel does events across the ASU campus, such as at Barrett or the Greek Leadership Village (GLV) in hopes of broadening its reach. “We know there are Jewish students in lots of different fraternities and sororities and there’s also Jewish students who have non-Jewish friends that may be interested in learning about their friends’ culture,” said Kail.

Bella Kekevian said, “I figured it would be a celebration of community and it’s been super welcoming and inviting.” It was her first time at a Hillel event.

“ASU is just so huge, so if someone happens to find us as their community, we’re always happy to have anyone,” said Yunker Kail.

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