Executive Director May Message

Much of what you’ve read lately from Hillel of Colorado concerns campus unrest, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism (you know: protests on the cruise ship at CSU/Semester at Sea; Tent Encampments and office takeovers at Auraria Campus; hateful graffiti and a Hamas QR code at a misinformation event at DU).  But it’s nice I can also report now on some great stuff for our 2,000+ Jewish students on Hillel of Colorado’s campuses.

A few exciting updates:

  • Leader Statements: In the past week two of our university presidents and chancellors have made strong, supportive public statements that contained many of the words and promises we have requested. We have expressed our gratitude while pledging to continue working closely with them and our Jewish communal partners: there’s so much still to do to keep our students safe, and Hillel is on it round the clock.


  • Brandies Center: Also this week we received an e-mail of affirmation from The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (mission is to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all) stating, “We will be happy to help advise your Colorado Task Force to Combat Campus Antisemitism… and assist when we can.” I know their vast experience will help us achieve the Task Force’s goal.*


  • Auraria Hillel: Two+ years ago Hillel and Golda Meir House Museum staff began discussing a new Hillel. Auraria Campus Hillel came into existence in late fall 2023!  While we couldn’t have foreseen tent encampments or administrative office takeovers in those pre-October 7th deliberations, Auraria Jewish students at Metropolitan State University, University of Colorado Denver, and Community College of Denver benefited greatly by Auraria Hillel’s presence this initial year.  Many thanks for generous pilot funding from several key donors, principle among them Rose Community Foundation which just confirmed they will help fund us again for academic year 2024-25.


This week, in meetings with leaders from all three Auraria schools and the Auraria Higher Education Commission, we received assurances that they will continue to improve their efforts to keep our students safe.


Most importantly, even though classes are out until summer and graduation is this week, the impact of Hillel programs and the success of peer bonding at Auraria Hillel is so great that students haven’t had enough!  Auraria Hillel director, Lauren Behm has announced that her student leaders will hold “one more Auraria Hillel event” next week, this one at the Merage & Allon Hillel Center at DU.  Among other things they will discuss: staying connected this summer to attract even more Jewish students for the fall.


*University leaders’ actions, alone, cannot solve campus antisemitism, which is a reflection of  greater societal problems.  Yet, their actions can go a long way toward ensuring universities are safer for Jews and all students while being the academic beacons they purport to be.  This Task Force will assist those on the ground working diligently with university leadership on Colorado campuses attended by largest numbers of Jewish students with Hillel staff (CU Boulder, CSU Ft. Collins, the University of Denver, and the Auraria Campus), and on other campuses throughout Colorado.  Jewish students need advocates and allies both within our universities and in the broader community to win this battle.

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