Recent News and Updates

We're pleased to announce that the fantastic Jewish Freedom Summer Veterans who spoke at our conference will now be touring campuses across the country! Learn more here.
The Open Hillel conference was a huge success! Check out our coverage in the media below.
The tentative conference schedule is now public! Check it out here.
We've now announced over a dozen fantastic speakers for our conference — check out the latest updates on our blog!
Conference registration is now open! Register today -- early-bird registration only lasts until September 17th!
We're pleased and excited to announce our first set of speakers for the upcoming Open Hillel conference! The fantastic line-up includes Judith Butler, David Harris-Gershon, Shaul Magid, Steven M. Cohen, and Freedom Summer Veterans Dorothy Zellner, Larry Rubin, and Ira Grupper.
Open Hillel now has a blog — check it out here! From now on, we'll be posting all our official releases and statements on the blog.
We are pleased to announce the first-ever Open Hillel Conference! The conference will take place this October 11-13, at Harvard University. We'll come together for a fantastic weekend of discussion, debate, learning, and community building, with speakers from all parts of the political spectrum — especially those who have recently been excluded from Jewish institutions. We have a whole team of organizers working on the conference, but we need your help — please donate here to make this conference a reality! And to be the first to hear when registration opens, pre-register here.
Hillel International has announced a new committee to review Hillel International's strategies and programming on Israel-Palestine! This shift is due to the tireless work of Open Hillel's supporters in pushing Hillel International to make change. Now we need to make sure Hillel International follows through on their promise to include a "diverse group of students" on the committee, including students who are currently excluded, and make sure that the policies are changed to be fully inclusive. Check out Open Hillel's statement in response to the announcement here.
ACTION ALERT: Upset about J Street U's exclusion from BU Hillel? Sign this petition calling upon BU Hillel to end these political litmus tests and allow J Street U to affiliate.
BU Hillel has voted against including BU J Street U as a Hillel-affiliated student group. Open Hillel is deeply disappointed in this decision, and calls upon BU Hillel to remove these political litmus tests and be a space for all Jewish student organizations, not just those with a narrowly defined set of views on Israel-Palestine.
Happy Passover from Open Hillel! Share our Passover campaign video with your friends on facebook!
Hillel International has announced that they will be creating a student cabinet to represent students' interests and concerns within Hillel International! Although this does not change Hillel International's restrictive policies on Israel- Palestine, we are glad to see that the organization will be working harder to include student voices. Check out Open Hillel's statement in response.
BREAKING NEWS: Congratulations to the Wesleyan Jewish Community — the third local Hillel-affiliate to declare that it will no longer follow Hillel International's restrictive Standards of Partnership! We're happy to welcome WJC into the Open Hillel community. If you are a Wesleyan student or alum, sign on in support of the WJC leaders' statement here!
The Open Hillel campaign now has a formal leadership structure! Congratulations to Rachel, Emily, Amelia, Naomi, Justin, Lex, Aryeh, and Nancy, the new Open Hillel steering commitee!
Judith Butler's talk on Franz Kafka, planned to be held at the Jewish Museum in New York, was just canceled due to Butler's pro-BDS views. Although Butler's talk was to be on Kafka's existentialist philosophy — a subject completely unrelated to Israel-Palestine — she was pressured to withdraw because of her political views.
Students at Ramaz, a Modern Orthodox high school in New York City, invited Palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi to speak at their school so that they could hear a Palestinian perspective — but administrators forbade them from hosting the talk. Now the students have launched a petition calling for administrators to allow Khalidi to speak. Kudos to the students at Ramaz for standing up for open dialogue on Israel-Palestine in their Jewish learning community!
BREAKING NEWS: Vassar Jewish Union has declared itself an Open Hillel, saying "As an Open Hillel, the Vassar Jewish Union will not endorse any particular political view. The Vassar Jewish Union will not exclude organizations, groups, speakers, individuals, or events on the basis of political opinion. Rather, we seek to represent the diverse views held by our members and to provide a space for meaningful and respectful debate and discussion." There are now two Open Hillels in the world — may there be many more to come!
UC Berkeley alumni have published an open letter calling for UC Berkeley to become an Open Hillel! Read it here, and if you're a UC Berkeley alum, sign it here!
Liberal Zionist author and Jewish educator David Harris-Gersohn has now been banned from speaking at the DC JCC, because he believes that boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are a legitimate form of non-violent protest. Open Hillel is saddened to hear that members of the Jewish community are being banned from any of our pluralistic Jewish organizations because of their political views on Israel, and opposes this decision by the DC JCC.
In a talk at UCLA, Eric Fingerhut declares that the current Standards for Partnership need to be "updated and modernized." Read our statement applauding his call to review these policies and asking that a large, diverse set of students be included in the decision-making process.
We are saddened to hear that author and Jewish educator David Harris-Gershon has been banned from speaking in Santa Barbara Hillel, despite having published a statement of his support for Zionism.
Author and Jewish educator David Harris-Gershon is required to publish a statement asserting his Zionist views in order to be allowed to speak in Santa Barbara Hillel. Is this what we want in our Jewish communities -- a loyalty oath to Israel for every speaker permitted inside our building?
Sign up for the weekly Open Hillel news blast to keep updated on the latest press coverage and campaign updates from Open Hillel!
Check out our new Ten Reasons to Support Open Hillel!
12/23/13 — Video from The Jewish Daily Forward
The Jewish Daily Forward reports that Swarthmore Hillel's first Shabbat dinner post-Open-Hillel-resolution was one of the best-attended Shabbat dinners of the entire year — even though it was the night before finals! When all students feel welcome in Hillel and empowered to build their own community's policies, investment and involvement skyrocket.
Now you can easily e-mail Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut to tell him that you support Swarthmore Hillel and the Open Hillel campaign — directly from our website! Customize our sample letter or write your own letter here.
Support Open Hillel? Already signed the petitions, and want to know what else you can do? Submit a testimonial on the Open Hillel tumblr!
The petition in support of Swarthmore Hillel has passed 1,000 signatures! It's amazing to see such a strong outpouring of support -- thank you all so much for standing up for the first-ever Open Hillel.
We've passed 1,000 signatures on the Open Hillel petition, and in less than one day over 500 people have signed the new petition in support of Swarthmore Hillel! Thank you all so much for your support, and let's keep spreading the word!
Show your support for Swarthmore Hillel! Already, Swarthmore Hillel has come under attack for declaring itself the first-ever Open Hillel. Sign our new petition to tell Hillel CEO Eric Fingerhut that you stand with Swarthmore Hillel!
Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut responds to Swarthmore Hillel's decision to become an Open Hillel, insisting that they must abide by Hillel International's rules. Apparently the "guidelines" aren't actually guidelines after all. Read Fingerhut's response here, and comment to let him know that you support Swarthmore Hillel and the Open Hillel movement!
FANTASTIC NEWS: Swarthmore Hillel becomes the first Hillel in the world to officially declare itself an Open Hillel, despite Hillel International's guidelines! This beautiful resolution passed their Hillel student board unanimously, demonstrating the strong support among young American Jews for more open dialogue in our community. Congratulations to Swarthmore Hillel, and to the fantastic student activists who made this happen!
Open Hillel condemns Hillel International's new plan to partner with AIPAC: "AIPAC deserves a place within Hillel, as one of many voices on Israel-Palestine. However, given AIPAC's specific and narrow policy agenda, it should not define what it means to be 'pro-Israel.' Even more fundamentally, no political advocacy organization should set the boundaries of what is encouraged, acceptable, and forbidden within the Jewish community on campus; and we worry that this partnership means that AIPAC will be asked to do so." Read more here!
Former Israeli Knesset Member, Avraham Burg, is prevented from speaking at Harvard Hillel. Although the event was co-sponsored by multiple Hillel-affiliated groups — Harvard Students for Israel, Harvard J Street U, and Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance — it was also co-sponsored by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, so the event was not permitted to be held in Hillel. Open Hillel commends the Jewish and Palestinian student groups for working together on the event despite Hillel's restrictions, and calls on Harvard Hillel to reform its policies to allow wonderful events like this one to take place in its building in the future.
Open Hillel holds its first national campaign meeting in Washington, D.C.!
Hillel International announces its new President and CEO, Eric Fingerhut. In a video statement, Fingerhut says that he plans to uphold the inclusive values of Hillel the Elder, the sage after whom Hillel International was named. Let's hold him to that principle, and continue calling for an Open Hillel.
Great news -- J Street U student leaders endorse the Open Hillel campaign! Check out their op-ed here.
Open Hillel now has a tumblr to replace our old testimonials page! Visit the tumblr and submit your own testimonials in video, picture, or text form!
The Open Hillel campaign has presented a letter, along with the petition signatures, to the board of Hillel International. Read our letter here!
The petition to Hillel International has reached 750 signatures. Let's keep it up and get to 1,000!
Check out our new facebook campaign and help spread the word about Open Hillel! Repost the image or make it your profile picture to tell your friends you've signed the petition and ask them to sign on too.
The petition to Hillel International has reached 500 signatures! Thank you all for your support, and keep spreading the word!
Open Hillel now has a Facebook page! Like us here:
Our official campaign launch is today! Spread the word and send the petition to your friends.
Our new website is now live at!
Our first school-specific petition is now online! Check out Open Harvard Hillel and sign the petition.
More evidence that we need to change Hillel International's guidelines: a Hillel student leader at Binghamton University was just asked to resign because he brought a pro-BDS speaker to campus under the auspices of a non-Hillel-affiliated group. This is one of the most extreme applications of Hillel's policy yet — restricting Hillel students' actions not only within the Hillel building, but also in their private lives.
The Open Hillel petition and website are now live!
Open Hillel now has an e-mail list! You can sign up here.
Open Hillel campaign launched with PJA's Open Letter to the Hillel Community.

In the Media

Open Hillel is committed to making its events, programs, membership, and leadership open and accessible to all who share in Open Hillel's mission and values. If there is an accommodation that would enable you to participate or participate more fully in Open Hillel (including changes to the website, accommodations to conference calls, and accommodations for our in-person events including the Open Hillel conference), please contact us.

Open Hillel is a student-run campaign and is not affiliated with Hillel International or any local Hillel.
Website design by Emily Unger.