Campus Construction 2013
Connecticut College celebrates the opening of the new Zach Hillel House
A cold day gave way to a warm welcome as the doors were officially opened to Connecticut College’s new Zachs Hillel House during a campus ceremony on Mon, Jan. 28, 2014. The College’s first Hillel House will serve as the center for Jewish student life and related intercultural programming at the College.
The 6,700-square-foot Zachs Hillel House is located on the north end of campus and includes a conference room, library, study space, a kosher kitchen and social space. The new facility provides space for weekly Shabbat services and religious observances, lectures, study sessions and meals like the popular Bagel Brunches.
Connecticut College Hillel is one of the largest and most actively engaged groups on campus, with nearly 200 students identifying themselves as Jewish. Though Hillel has had a significant presence on campus for more than 25 years, the group never had a dedicated space to bring students together and host programs and events for the entire community. Creating a welcoming building for the vibrant Jewish community and non-Jewish students was a major priority of the College.
The College partnered with entrepreneur and philanthropist Henry Zachs and his family, who had previously supported Hillel houses at the University of Connecticut and Trinity College and expressed interest in doing so at Connecticut College. Zachs had met with members of the College’s Hillel at a Shabbat dinner at Trinity several years prior, and they made a convincing case for why a new facility was critical. Zachs generously pledged $1 million for the construction of the Zachs Hillel House.
The Zachs Hillel House will serve as a center for Jewish student life and intercultural programming at the College. Importantly, it will promote interfaith dialogue and intellectual and social growth for Connecticut College and the surrounding community, including the Coast Guard Academy.
Read the Sept. 4, 2013 news release, College's first Hillel House under construction.
"The motivation for my family to give back comes from seeing others give. Throughout my life, I’ve seen what other Jewish families have done philanthropically, in both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. They always supported each other, but focused particularly on making their community a better place and setting a great example for our children and grandchildren. Supporting a Hillel community on a college campus is important to my family. We would love to see the new space grow into a thriving center where people come together to learn from each other and benefit from diverse perspectives and experiences." - Henry Zachs