Hillel at the University of Michigan was the third Hillel Foundation in North America, established in 1926. Hillel was housed at two different locations at the University before moving into 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 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 by 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.
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 60 student groups. In 2011, Michigan Hillel took more students to Israel on Taglit-Birthright Israel than any other Hillel in the country. In 2012, University of Michigan was listed as the school with the most Camp Ramah alumni. Also in 2012, the TAMID Israel Investment Group, incubated through Michigan Hillel, launched as a national organization.
Again 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 is the University of Michigan.