Hillels Receive Grants From CJP To Fight Antisemitism on Campus

By Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Hillels have always been devoted to supporting Jewish life on college campuses and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) has worked closely with on-campus partners around safety and security for years. Now, however, there’s a heightened level of fear on the part of college and university staff and students amid the uptick of antisemitic incidents and vandalism, Hillel officials say. In Greater Boston and around the country, students report feeling isolated and scared. At the same time, campus Hillels grapple with understaffing and depleted resources. 

To buoy their essential work, CJP has created a $360,000 Emergency Security and Antisemitism Support Grant Pool, and the support arrives at a pivotal time. As part of our ongoing 5-Point Plan to combat Jewish hate, these grants will be divided into two parts: first, addressing the increased cost of security, and second, providing additional support as it relates to combating antisemitism crisis response, ranging from student support, staffing, educational programming, and additional security needs.  

The Hillel Council will receive $40,000, while eight local Hillels and eight local Chabad houses will receive $20,000 each, helping to create safer and more welcoming campuses. 

“CJP has been an incredible partner to Hillel Council of New England well before Oct. 7,” says Miriam Berkowitz Blue, executive director of Hillel Council of New England. “In these last few months, we have felt CJP’s support even more through increased opportunities for community building and gatherings—not just for Jewish students, but for campus professionals as well. The success of the student delegation for the March for Israel in Washington, D.C., bringing 200 students together for this momentous event, further demonstrates the impact of CJP’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging amongst the Jewish student population across Greater Boston. The increased support through this emergency grant will help sustain our Hillel’s efforts to build Jewish student life across campuses so that they feel secure and safe on campus. We are grateful to CJP for their unwavering support at a time when it is needed most.” 

Overall, Hillel professionals say they are increasingly turning to CJP funding to improve physical security in their buildings, as well as for training, guidance on emergency plans and procedures, and as a meaningful partner in conversations with campus law enforcement and security, all while supporting student wellness. 

For example, the Hillel Council of New England has provided services to students from 13 campuses, a significant increase from the seven campuses they usually serve. Hillels are encountering students seeking help for the very first time, they say. Faculty and other university staff are also experiencing similar challenges, and they need support. 

This mirrors nationwide trends: Hillel International has established a national grant pool to support campuses in crisis, receiving requests totaling nearly $835,000 from 99 applications. So far, 87 grants have been awarded, amounting to over $700,000, mainly for security initiatives. 

“This is the most difficult time ever to be Jewish on a college campus. Our students are lonely and afraid—and need Hillel more than ever.  We are deeply appreciative to CJP for being our critical partner in protectingJewish students and fighting antisemitism on campus,says Rabbi Jevin Eagle, executive director of BU Hillel.

Nonetheless, funding gaps persist, officials say, particularly for staffing and ongoing programming. According to Hillel, 52 campuses that have already received funding reported additional need for support. CJP is grateful to be able to offer tangible resources at a turbulent time. 

Dr. Sarah Abramson, senior vice president of strategy and impact at CJP, says, “One of CJP’s most sacred responsibilities is to ensure the safety and security of all our community members, including those on the front lines of the emergency on college campuses. We want Jewish life to flourish where our young adults are growing and learning. CJP is proud to make these grants to our campus partners.”