Reopening Plan for Fall 2020

After a summer of scenario planning, Hillel Reimagined calls, and listening to your feedback in our student and parent Focus Groups, we are happy to share with our community our plan for reopening for the Fall semester. We are excited to welcome over 1,000 incoming Jewish freshmen and welcome back over 5,000 more returning upperclassmen and graduate students.

If you have participated in any of our calls or discussions over the summer, you have seen that we have grounded our decision-making in our values. We remain steadfastly determined to provide opportunities to engage in Jewish life and community building in a way that:

  • Upholds safety and wellbeing of our community, 
  • Aligns with the university,
  • Seeks out opportunities this moment brings, 
  • Pursues our mission and goals, 
  • And is flexible to change with the times. 

Please find below a list of FAQs that will help you navigate how our Hillel is prepared to safely support students and how you can access Jewish life on campus in a meaningful way. We are committed to continuing to enrich the lives of Jewish students on campus through diverse, inclusive and impactful opportunities to engage in Jewish life – whether associated with our Hillel building or across campuses in outdoor spaces and the homes of our students. 

What’s most important is that you stay updated with what we will be offering! These FAQs give you a snapshot to how we will be starting out this school year. As restrictions ease or become more strict, our offerings will change. Please stay up to date by using the resources below.


Stay Current:

With the regulations of the state and university in flux, it is more important than ever that you are connected to Hillel. For the most updated information, it is important that you follow us on our social media pages and sign up for our Remind Channels, a texting system (students only).We are also committed to keeping information up to date on our website. 

Students – submit or update your information online to receive our weekly Student Newsletter and dedicated emails based on your interests. 

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

We encourage our parents to register to receive our monthly Parent Newsletter plus updates around holidays and special events. Also join our closed Facebook group to receive important updates throughout the year. Closed “Michigan Hillel Parents” Facebook group

Remind Channels – text your class year to 81010 (students only)

  • Class of 2021: Text @hillel2021
  • Class of 2022: Text @hillel2022
  • Class of 2023: Text @hillel2023
  • Class of 2024: Text @hillel2024
  • Grad Students: Text @hillelgrad
  • Shabbat Info: Text @hillelshab

Michigan Resources:

The Freshmen Resources page of our website has many University and Hillel important resource links, as well as, updated information from Housing.
Maize & Blueprint: University’s Guide to Living, Learning & Working Together Safely
Interactive Campus Map
Campus Centers & Resources
FAQs from M Dining

Heath and Wellbeing:

University Health Services- UHS
CAPS counseling services remain open even during the summer with a number of remote access opportunities, including telehealth visits. 
Wolverine Wellness also has resources like guided meditation videos and more ways to support student well being. 
Hillel Staff are here for you to help you navigate these resources if you need extra support. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Hillel building be open in the Fall?
For the first few weeks, the Hillel building will be open to scheduled meetings only. This means if you would like a tour of the building or to meet with one of our amazing staff, you can make a meeting by emailing them through the Staff Page on our website.

How do I get connected to Jewish Life on campus if access to Hillel is limited? 
Even though our building is not open to the public, our Hillel staff and student connectors are ready to meet you in outdoor spaces around campus.

If you are a freshman looking to get connected with community, take advantage of our FreshConnect program! Get paired with a sophomore mentor or sign up for a Freshmen JLF cohort. The FreshConnect web page will be updated soon with more events for the month of September so make sure to check back during move-in week for more information.

For all students…. You can fill out a “Hillel Connect” request form, where you can let us know what you are looking for, and then one of our engagement fellows will reach out to you to help you get connected to Jewish community.

Will Michigan Hillel host in-person and/or virtual programming? 
Yes and yes! We are excited to offer a wide variety of programs this coming school year, both in-person and virtual. We will follow all appropriate government and university guidelines for  any in-person program and gathering. The best way to know about and sign up for our programs is to be sure you are connected to Hillel’s social media pages and sign up for our weekly newsletter (refer to Stay Current section above).

Will Hillel’s student groups be running this year?
Yes! Many of our student led groups are planning for a mix of virtual and safe, small in person programming. To get the most up to date information on which student groups are active right now, and how to get involved check out our Hillel Group Guide. If you have any questions, you can email our Manager of Leadership and Programming [email protected]

Will there be opportunities to get involved in Hillel leadership?
Yes! We always encourage our students to seek out leadership opportunities. Many of our leadership positions have terms that follow the calendar year. If you are interested in taking on a leadership role you will have the opportunity to apply in early November. We also encourage our students to create their own leadership opportunities within Hillel by setting up time with a staff member to brainstorm and implement.

Additionally, we offer leadership learning opportunities and leadership development series to help our students strengthen their skills. Reach out to Sean Morgan, our Associate Director to learn more about these opportunities – [email protected].

Can I come to Hillel to study? 
For the first month of school, our Hillel will be closed to students who are looking for a quiet study space. We will revisit this policy every month and will update our students if we make some of our spaces available to be reserved for individual study or exams.

Will we be able to travel to Israel on Birthright this winter?
Presently, you may register for Birthright Israel and indicate the month you are interested in participating. Our Hillel will not be running a Michigan trip in December, but there may be other providers available to you. We do recommend every student experience Israel through a Hillel sponsored Birthright trip. Our staff who join the students provide an amazing experience and continue those relationships after the trip ends. That’s why we suggest all students pre-register for our spring trips. You can find information on registering on our website.

Where can I find out about events for freshmen students?
Stay up to date with first-year student specific programming by joining the Class of 2024 facebook group and/or the Class of 2024 Remind Channel (info above).

Where can I find out about events for transfer students? 
Transfer students should sign up for their graduation year specific Remind Channel for information about events and programming. If you are a transfer student interested in more specific community building, please contact Haley [email protected]

Will there be options to participate in Hillel programming if I am attending classes remotely from home? 
Plans are already in the works for virtual programs and learning opportunities that remote students can take advantage of this semester. Sign up for updates to see all that will be available to you.

Kosher Dining:
Kosher food will be available from 12:00 pm to 8:30 pm Monday through Thursday at our Hillel Cafe beginning Monday, August 24. New this year, delivery from GrubHub will be available throughout the week. Hillel will also have its own ordering app for pick-up orders.

At the beginning of the school year, Hillel’s Kosher Grab&Go sandwich lunch boxes and dinner offerings will be available exclusively for take-out, with either a no-contact pick-up option or delivery through GrubHub. We will work towards opening the building to add a dine-in option when it feels safe to do so.

Hillel Cafe Meal cards will be available again this year, but can only be used with Hillel’s new app when placing pick-up orders. Purchase one for $135 and get $150 worth of food!
Kosher dining is also available in South Quad. For more information on their operations, please click here.

Is Kosher dining available to community members?
Yes! Community members are welcome to order kosher meals Monday to Thursday. Shabbat meals are only available for students, however.

Will the Jewish Penicillin Hotline be running? 
Sadly, we had to make the difficult decision not to have our student volunteers and staff deliver Jewish Penicillin Hotline this year to be safe. BUT the good news is we will have our delicious, kosher chicken soup available on our Hillel Cafe menu all the time so that students and parents may order it from our website any time a student needs it. Soup, like any of our meals, may be picked up without contact or delivered through GrubHub!

Will there be daily Services?
Our Orthodox minyan will hold daily services outside the Hillel building. The O-minyan Whatsapp group is the best way to find the most up-to-date times and locations for services. Contact Rav Jared ([email protected]) to be added to the group.

What will Shabbat services look like? 
Hillel holds Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox services weekly on Friday night, Orthodox services weekly on Shabbat mornings, and Conservative morning services monthly. We are still finalizing the details about Shabbat services but we are planning for in-person services outside on a rotating basis, as well as services online to meet the needs of as many students as possible in the early weeks of the school year. Sign up for Shabbat reminders and updates on our Shabbat Remind channel! Text @hillelshab to 81010 (students only)

What will Shabbat with Hillel look like? 
We are excited to celebrate Shabbat with you on campus this year! We will be offering a weekly virtual Shabbat dinner gathering online as well as planning for Shabbat programming in small groups when we can gather in-person.

Can I still get Shabbat dinner with Hillel? 
Yes! Every Friday night we will have delicious FREE kosher meals individually wrapped for take-out and small group catering. Students can grab a meal from Hillel and meet up a small group of friends outside around campus, or host one another at your homes. Advanced registration for all meals will be required!

Upperclassmen – order meals here and pickup at Hillel during the day on Friday.

Freshmen – order meals here and indicate which dorm you would like to meet people for dinner and pick up your meal from a Hillel staff person.

I’m still confused about Shabbat:
Want to get connected to Shabbat programming at Hillel? Sign up for a 1:1 with a Shabbat Connect fellow who will help you find the Shabbat experience that is right for you! 

Want to host Shabbat dinner but not sure how to do it? Hillel staff will consult with you every step of the way! You can also choose to cook your own Shabbat dinner and get reimbursed for your groceries. Get more info and resources on our Host at Home page.

High Holidays with Hillel:
We are looking forward to celebrating the holidays with students on campus this year. As in years past, there will be service options for students as well as alternative opportunities to engage with the holidays this year, though gathering will look different. Similar to our Shabbat dinner program for this year, individually packaged meals will be available for students throughout the holiday, and we will provide additional support for students to create meaningful peer-led holiday experiences in small groups.  Virtual and in-person service options are in the works. Check our website for registration and resources as details unfold.

Health and Safety Protocols:

What health and safety protocols will be in place for inside the building?

  • masks
  • automatic hand sanitizer dispensers
  • foot door openers
  • increased cleaning protocols
  • restricted access to scheduled meetings only
  • one person in restroom at a time
  • no guests on upper or lower floors
  • increased outside air flow into the building
  • high efficiency filters added to the HVAC system
  • proof of symptoms check or quick survey upon entering building 

What health and safety protocols will be in place for meetings and programs outside the building? 
Upon RSVPing for any Hillel event, students will have to confirm that they are not experiencing COVID symptoms and will abide by all CDC and social distancing guidelines Hillel applies to the event. This applies to all Hillel events outside of the building, including those hosted in students’ homes and supported by our Hillel.

Will we have to wear masks at Hillel programs and in the building? 
Yes. In alignment with the university’s policy, masks will be required at any Hillel program inside and outside the building. If any programming involves a meal or food, participants will be expected to remain 6-feet apart from each other

This is all a lot to navigate. Who can I talk to in order to understand how I can get involved? 

If you are a freshman with more questions, please contact Caroline Dorf.

For all other students, You can fill out a “Hillel Connect” request form, where you can let us know what you are looking for, and then one of our engagement fellows will reach out to you to help you get connected to Jewish community.

You can also reach out to make a meeting with any of our staff if you want to talk through all of the different options we have to get involved and build community.

All these changes to campus life are making me feel overwhelmed. How can I get more support?
You are not alone! Hillel Staff is committed to supporting students and being responsive to students’ wellness needs in this uncertain time. If you or a friend are in need of support, please feel free to reach out to a staff member who can help you navigate campus and other local resources. See the links above to UHS (health services), CAPS (counseling services) and Wolverine Wellness (well being, stress management, and other support). You can also connect with Wolverine Support Network – a peer-led mental health organization that runs support groups on campus.

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