UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Penn State has earned the ranking of ninth in the country for "public schools chosen by Jewish students." With an estimated population of 6,000 Jewish students, University Park’s Hillel says that it is the heart of Jewish life on campus.
“Penn State Hillel supports Jewish students as they look for profound ways to connect with their unique Jewish identities. We aim to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the world,” said Hannah Giterman, Penn State Hillel’s community engagement associate.
The rankings, compiled by the national Hillel organization, listed 60 schools total from all over the U.S. along with their offerings of Jewish studies degrees, Israel abroad trips, kosher options, and Jewish faculty. Eight other Big Ten schools also made the list.
Currently, Penn State Hillel is based in the Pasquerilla Student Center, but is building a new office downtown. The new group headquarters will include the town’s first kosher deli, Shabbat meals and study space for people of all faiths.
“We work hard to be value-added to the entire University community, and partner with Penn State to enrich the entire student body,” Giterman said.
Hillel students participate in many study abroad and service activities, from THON to alternative break trips. Following the practice of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world,” a group spent their winter break repairing damaged homes in Honduras and teaching their host village about AIDS. Other groups traveled to Israel on the Birthright trip, and to Poland. In the community, volunteers deliver chicken soup to sick students around campus and have the opportunity to attend the new Jewish Leaders Gala, which brings student leaders together.