Penn State Hillel, the largest Jewish college club in the country, will soon offer a student-friendly environment that is more accessible to students living downtown. The new Hillel will be located at the corner of West Beaver Avenue and Garner Street and will be open to people of all faiths, according to Hillel’s Executive Director Aaron Kaufman said.
The club will offer home-cooked meals, Shabbat dinners and State College’s first ever Kosher deli, Kaufman said.
In addition to a unique dietary menu, Hillel will also offer free meals occasionally and will provide students with study rooms, a student lounge and a game room, Hillel President Jamie Butler said.
“It’s essentially a Jewish HUB, but the downtown Hillel will be open to anyone of the State College community,” Butler (sophomore-hospitality) said.
Penn State Hillel has only just acquired the property and more fundraising will be needed before construction can begin, Kaufman said. The Hillel building will occupy approximately 26,000 square feet and will include an organic rooftop garden as well as indoor and outdoor rooftop seating, Kaufman said.
“I probably won’t be able to experience it as a student, but I would like to come back to State College and visit Hillel as an alum,” Hillel club member Rebecca Lerman said.
As the temperature drops, many students try to limit their time walking around campus. This can make walking from a downtown apartment to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center a bit challenging, Lerman said.
“Currently, the club operates out of the Pasquerilla Center, which is out of the way for most students,” Lerman (junior-supply chain management) said. “We have five offices, which is a bit small, so having a more centralized location for students will really help people engage with one another.”
This “new HUB” will be a safe place for students to bond on an intercultural level, Lerman said.
Hillel’s mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the world.
The club also participates in the Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, alternative spring break trips and volunteer services, Kaufman said.
The completion date for this project is unknown, Kaufman said.
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