Welcome to Michigan!
When one thinks about the University of Michigan, two defining characteristics that come to mind are community and leadership. So too are the defining characteristics of our Hillel and what we provide for Jewish students on campus.
Michigan Hillel is unparalleled in terms of its size, diversity, and quality of programming. Our Hillel supports over 40 independent student groups for our 6,500 Jewish students on campus – spanning the full breadth of Jewish life. Each group provides opportunities for students to become involved as leaders, driving the programming and decision-making forward for their group and community. Students build leadership, engagement, and community-organizing skills through our Hillel that benefits them in their roles on campus, in finding employment, and in life long after they graduate.
Each group also provides the opportunity for students to access a community that meets their individual needs. Through these student-led groups, students can find opportunities to explore their identities and interests in a safe, supportive, fun, and nurturing environment. Our programming covers social, political, religious, cultural, and educational areas – all intended to help students access Jewish life and community on their own terms. We offer concerts, lectures, films, classes, community service, yoga, religious services, discussion groups, dialogue, immersive experiences at home and in Israel, free Shabbat lunches and dinners, and boast the only kosher restaurant – the Hillel Café – in our county. We also take more students to Israel on Birthright Israel than any other Hillel in the country.
You can come to Hillel to do just about anything – like hang out, eat delicious meals, study, hold a group meeting, and enjoy our backyard. But Hillel is not just confined to our building. You can experience Hillel in coffee shops, in residence halls, on the diag, in your own home, in Israel, or in Detroit. Drop in or contact us to learn more about how to get connected. Or come to us with a new idea we can help you grow for your community. Hillel is what you make it.
The mission of Michigan Hillel is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.
Hillel at the University of Michigan was the third Hillel Foundation in North America, established in 1926. Our Hillel has been housed at two locations at the University before moving into what was a house at 1429 Hill Street in 1942. The house was replaced by a large building in 1951 and that building, in turn, was replaced by the present Mandell L. Berman Center in 1988.
Michigan Hillel’s history matches the remarkable changes in the University and the times of the nation during its more than eight decades on campus. From its earliest days Hillel played a significant role in campus life, serving not only the religious needs of the campus Jewish community but also providing a center for social, political, and artistic expression. In 1937, The Hillel Players produced the first play of an undergraduate by the name of Arthur Miller. During the Vietnam War years, Hillel was the locus of much of the campus debate and political action. In the 1980s Hillel began to play a major role in the intellectual and cultural life of the University with the launching of programs like Consider Magazine, Residence Hall Repertory Theater Company, and the Golden Apple Award. In 2012, the TAMID Israel Investment Group incubated through Michigan Hillel and has now launched as a national organization with an international presence.
Today, the University of Michigan is widely regarded as one of the best schools in the country for Jewish students and our Hillel has played a major role in this national reputation. With our emphasis on student leadership and student-driven initiatives, Michigan Hillel has grown to house and support 40+ student groups. Michigan Hillel often ranks among the top Hillels in the country for several impactful areas, such as: taking the most students to Israel on Birthright Israel trips, having the most Camp Ramah alumni, and attending JFNA’s General Assembly conferences and AIPAC Policy Conferences with the largest delegation of students.
In 2012, the Fiske Guide to American Colleges cited the quality of Jewish life as a significant factor in the life of the campus at only two schools. One of them was the University of Michigan. In 2016, our Hillel earned AIPAC’s “Duke Rudman Leadership Award”, the organization’s highest honor to recognize campuses leading in pro-Israel political leadership and activism. And in 2020, our Michigan Hillel received Hillel International’s “Oustanding Campus” Award.