University of Florida Hillel

Amplifying Jewish student voices through tradition, inspiration, and activation

University of Florida Hillel is trailblazing new approaches for Judaism’s future by helping students amplify their voices through tradition, inspiration, and activation. It’s not afraid to shake things up itself, and in 2014 it overhauled the traditional Hillel model and its entire organizational structure. Inspired by the lean start-up business philosophy, UF Hillel shifted its programmatic model to show “less is more.” UF Hillel began to focus on training future leaders to positively impact the world through a Jewish lens by connecting them with Israel, travel experiences, spirituality, career advancement opportunities, and entrepreneurial endeavors. And the risk is paying off: While 82 percent of programming was eliminated, unique student engagement has increased 167 percent over three years, with Birthright participation growing 56 percent. 

UF Hillel uses relevant issues facing college students to meet its essential outcomes of maximizing Jewish and Israel engagement. Programming includes Career Up Now, which builds career advancement retreats in cities across the country for students to connect with top industry leaders, and the Selling Factory, which hires students to grow revenue for local, national, and global start-ups. UF Hillel also created UF to Israel, which unifies the on-campus Israel conversation and offers a platform for travel, education, and advocacy with Israel for Jews and non-Jews. It also piloted song leaders on Birthright to encourage greater connection to Jewish prayer. To engage students with phones always in hand, UF Hillel innovated a virtual tzedakah box iPhone app and created a social-media Jewish resource center and live worship streaming. UF Hillel’s strategies are working. Between July and December 2017, UF Hillel engaged 10,000 students in person and online, highlighting the entrepreneurial and nimble mind-set essential for legacy organizations. UF Hillel has created a turnkey approach so other communities can expand its imprint nationally, while successfully amplifying the voices of its organization. Soon the Jewish world will hear them loud and clear. 

  • Region

    Florida
  • Population Served

    20s & 30s College Students Jewish Professionals
  • Program Area(s)

    Community Building Israel Jewish Education Leadership Development Outreach & Engagement Professional Development
  • Life Cycle Stage

    Legacy
  • Contact

    Adam Grossman
  • Email

    [email protected]
  • Phone

    352-248-2602
  • Website

    ufhillel.org
  • Twitter

    @ufhillel
  • Facebook

    ufhillel
  • Snapchat

    @ufhillel
  • Instagram

    ufhillel
  • Founded

    1937
  • Board Chair

    Brett Amron
  • 2017 Expenses

    $800,000

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