Fiedler Hillel Center wins partnership award

Alexandra Finkel

Northwestern’s Fiedler Hillel Center recently received an international award for its relationship with the university.

From a field that included Hillels from North America and Israel, NU’s center won the Vision and Values Award for Indispensable Campus Partnership. The Hillel center at Franklin & Marshall College also received this award.

“It’s certainly humbling and empowering to be recognized by the leaders of the field,” said Lisa Kudish, Fiedler’s executive director. “What it cements for us is that our efforts at NU are really being validated.”

A significant reason for NU’s success was the innovative and creative approach the organization has taken with its programming, Kudish said.

More specifically, the development of askbigquestions, a national organization founded at NU, encourages discussion with questions like, “What day in your life would you live over?” or “Can you be religious and queer?” The program not only serves as an online forum for students but also holds monthly sessions with professors.

“Askbigquestions has transcended into more of a university initiative,” Kudish said. “It’s not just about educating Jewish students anymore, it’s about educating the entire student body.”

Kudish also credits Hillel’s success to its recent adoption of the study abroad program in Israel. Hillel was able to send 10 students abroad Fall Quarter, even after the university abandoned its own program when the government added Israel to its list of “Do Not Travel” locations.

“Our goal on campus is somewhat about connecting people to their Jewish heritage,” she said. “But we’re here to help all people find their purpose.”

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