Open Hillel Core Principles


1. Pluralism & Open Dialogue in the Jewish Community

We believe in Jewish communities that are pluralistic: communities that welcome and embrace a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. We call on broad-based Jewish institutions to recognize and respect the diversity of their community members; and to foster open dialogue on religious, political, philosophical, and ethical issues -- especially controversial ones! -- without censorship. We believe that pluralism and open dialogue are essential to promoting genuine intellectual engagement and mutual understanding of differences.  

2. Jewish Engagement with the Wider World and with Issues of Social Justice

We believe in Jewish engagement with political and social issues in the United States and around the world. In order to honestly address these issues, we call on Jewish institutions to seek out, rather than shut down, opportunities for dialogue with other faith and cultural communities. We believe in the particular importance of talking with those within and outside our communities who are most impacted by a given issue. As such, when discussing issues relating to Israel-Palestine, we call on the Jewish community to talk not just with diaspora and Israeli Jews, but also with Palestinian individuals and organizations.

3. Democracy and Democratic Accountability in the Jewish Community

We believe that Jewish institutions should be responsive and accountable to the needs, wants, and values of all of their members and constituents, rather than just their major donors. In a time of increasing income and wealth inequality within the American Jewish community and American society at large, we call on Jewish institutions to honor the equal worth and dignity of all people. We advocate for Jewish institutions to implement democratic processes that encourage broad-based participation in Jewish communal decision-making.

4. Commitment to Changing Broad-Based Jewish Institutions

In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Hillel said, Al tifrosh min hatzibur -- “Do not separate yourself from the community.” Just as we call on Jewish institutions to be democratically accountable to Jewish community members, we commit ourselves to acting as engaged, democratic, Jewish communal ‘citizens.’ We believe in working to change existing broad-based Jewish institutions so as to ensure that these organizations, which claim to represent and serve the entire Jewish community, are open, pluralistic, inclusive, and democratically accountable.