Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Jewish Center breaks ground

As a tent offered shade from the sweltering sun, an audience of sweating administrators and students listened to the inauguration of the new building to house the Hillel Jewish Center.

Co-chair of Hillel, Don Siegal, said Hillel was first located near Bryant-Denny Stadium on land bought with funds raised by a group of Jewish philosophers.

Siegal thanked certain members of the audience, such as University of Alabama President Robert Witt and Hillel Treasurer Star Bloom, who have illustrated exceptional devotion to the organization.

President Witt said Hillel is a major asset for the University.

“The addition of a new home for Hillel is very important for the University,” Witt said. “We want all students to have the opportunity to grow in religion as they also grow intellectually and socially.”

Beverly Hawk, director of the Crossroads Community Center, said Hillel is a valuable organization for students.

“An organization like Hillel is important for the quality of student life, because it helps us get together and meet each other in a positive space, and that’s what it’s all about,” Hawk said.

Yuval Almog, an alumnus of the University and member of Hillel since his initial days at The Capstone, spoke to the audience about how he arrived on campus with only $400 in his back pocket.

Almog said he was a high school dropout and became a freshman at the Capstone at the age of 24 because he was a fighter pilot for the Israeli air force in two wars. He did not know a word of English upon arriving in Alabama except for “No,” “Yes,” and “I don’t know.”

Almog described the diplomas he earned here as gifts, and he thanked the University and Hillel for helping him find a home in a new country.

“These saints were the delegates of a very compassionate community,” Almog said. “Hillel will provide in one way or another a sanctuary for others.”

After Star Bloom delivered the closing remarks, shovels were raised and then dug into the dirt to represent the opening of Hillel’s new temple.

BJ Hollars, University of Alabama Hillel Fellow, said the relationship of Hillel with the University has been longstanding and thorough.

“We have a legendary relationship with the University and our time together has allowed for wonderful collaboration,” Hollars said.

Renee Sharon, co-president of the Hillel Student Board and a junior majoring in public relations, said the ceremony for the new temple was inspirational.

“Today was very inspirational,” Sharon said. “It really starts the year off on an incredible note.”

More to Discover