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A new Hillel
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A new Hillel

Rutgers University has pulled off what is being called the “largest higher education merger in U.S. history.” With the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and its affiliated schools now part of a new, 65,000-student, $3 billion Rutgers, administrators and politicians have thrust NJ’s state university into the ranks of the top 25 research universities in the nation.

With all the changes going on at Rutgers, it is also important to recognize a partnership that has the potential to transform Rutgers Hillel. Last month, New Brunswick’s Zoning Board of Adjustment approved plans for a new Rutgers Hillel building at the university campus in New Brunswick.

The June 24 approval of the plan, which revolves around a land swap with the university, means that Hillel’s current College Avenue building will be demolished in one to three months, with Hillel activities temporarily relocated to a nearby structure. The new $18 million home will include a 400-seat kosher dining hall; prayer space; a kosher cafe; Israel resource center; classrooms; and a computer lab. Hillel hopes to move into the new facility for the start of the 2015 academic year.

The new location is the result of an agreement among Hillel, the university, the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and the New Brunswick Redevelopment Corporation (DEVCO), all partners in a $300 million College Avenue Campus Development Project.

Home to the nation’s second-largest Jewish student population, Rutgers has long lacked a Hillel building that matches the agency’s extensive Jewish identity programming and national reputation for Israel advocacy. Said Hillel board president Roy Tanzman: “Our state deserves a world-class Hillel, and that is precisely what our new plans will deliver.”

For further information about the project, contact Andrew Getraer or Lee Rosenfield at 732-545-2407 or lee@rutgershillel.org.

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