By Patrick J. Callahan
UMass Amherst Hillel is one of two Hillel Foundations officially reaccredited recently by the Washington, D.C.-based board of directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. The accreditation recognizes its adherence to Hillel''s international standards of excellence.
The accreditation report recognized the UMass Amherst Hillel for exceeding the rigorous international standards in many areas. Hillel serves the needs of students of many religious and cultural backgrounds with Orthodox, Conservative and Reform services and discussion groups as well as Russian and Sephardic cultural groups. Non-Jewish students are welcome to participate in Hillel activities, and many events are co-sponsored with other cultural student organizations.
“We are delighted with this national recognition of Hillel at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,” says Rabbi Saul Perlmutter, executive director of Hillel House and university chaplain. “The accreditation singled out our enthusiastic student leadership, diverse programming, welcoming environment, and contribution to the university as a whole. I am deeply grateful to our students, staff, and supporters and the university as a whole for making Hillel a warm and welcoming Jewish community on campus.”
The report says UMass Amherst Hillel is unique in offering university-accredited Judaic Studies courses and a residence for more than 20 students. This Hillel fosters particularly strong relationships with the university''s department of development and with other campus administrative offices, according to the report.
Indiana University Hillel was also reaccredited, and Hillel of Greater Toronto received its first accreditation. To date, Hillel has accredited 66 foundations across the United States and Canada and 10 of those schools were reaccredited. These campuses represent a broad range of foundation profiles: small and large schools, residential and commuter campuses, as well as public and private universities. Every Hillel has been assigned a date for participation, with the goal of accreditation for all Hillel Foundations.