Impact Report

Hillel Banner Students

Our Mission is to be the home away from home at UCLA for all Jewish students to build their identities through Jewish life, learning, and Israel.


Impact by the Numbers


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Year at a Glance

Hillel Inspires Leadership

Program Summary

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Pandemic Response 

During the peak of the pandemic, the Jewish Bruin community bonded closer than ever (despite physical distance).  Then and now, Hillel’s entrepreneurial spirit guides our efforts to meet students where they are and evolve to recognize and meet their needs.  Our digital programs, creative adjustments to food service and individual outreach ensure that students are seen and nourished.  Among the lessons that the pandemic has taught us, it is affirming Hillel’s agility - our values promote the cultivation of a creative mindset geared toward adaptation and innovation in service of our ever-evolving Jewish Bruin community.  

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Some of Our Programs:

  • Online wellness events
  • One-to-one check-ins/pastoral care
  • Multi-week, cohort based learning by Zoom 
  • Virtual Shabbat services and to-go meals
  • Hillel care packages sent by mail
  • Restaurant relocation (to the first floor outdoors, providing uninterrupted Kosher lunch service) 
  • Outdoor face-to-face meet ups and meals

Pandemic Response 2

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The number of UCLA students reporting loneliness, anxiety, and depression has spiked significantly over the past five years and particularly as a result of the pandemic. Guided by research and professional healthcare advisors, Hillel integrates mental health support into virtually all of our student programs, explicitly addressing physical health (exercise, sleep, nutrition); mental health (addiction, anxiety, mindfulness, depression, distortion); executive functioning; adulting; and intimacy and sexuality (consent, safety, vulnerability).

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Some of Our Programs:

  • Provide access to free, confidential individual therapy
  • Chai on Life outdoor experiences
  • Weekly movement classes
  • Jewish Learning Fellowship focused on intimacy and relationships
  • Creating sensory soothing spaces during crowded and loud programs
  • One-on-one pastoral care/counsel
  • Collaborations with UCLA and other Jewish institutions to enhance services/access
  • Wellness Chair on Student Board
  • Dignified access to free meals for students facing hunger

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Hillel invests in cultivating the future leaders of our Jewish people at a critical moment in their identity development.  When they graduate, we want them to see themselves as leaders and know how to lead.  Hillel leaders are taught hard skills for community engagement, developing best practices in outreach, securing partners, managing event logistics, working within a budget, creating welcoming spaces and evaluating impact.  The Hillel Student Board is composed of students who can opt to focus their attention on specific interests.  Leadership activities are student-driven, staff-supported and calibrated for every level leader (beginner to most senior).  Efforts of student leaders elevate Hillel and the broader campus community.

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Some of Our Programs:

  • Student Board 
  • Engagement Interns
  • Micro-community leadership: Challah for Hunger, Bearing Witness, Social Justice, Wellness
  • Freshman Leadership Council
  • Persian Community at Hillel
  • Transfer Undergraduate Students at Hillel
  • Senior Seminar and Senior Class Gift
  • Students serving on Hillel’s governing Board of Directors

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Celebration of Shabbat/Jewish rituals and engaging in Jewish learning are fundamental to the development of one’s sense of Jewish identity.  Hillel offers a plurality of opportunities to immerse in Judaism, ranging from exploring ancient and contemporary text (and its applications to everyday life) to experiencing rituals to mark Jewish holidays.  Radical inclusion enhances our whole community! Every Jewish Bruin can plug in, regardless of denominational affiliation or past Jewish experience.

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Some of Our Programs:

  • High Holy Days services/meals (for students and community at large)
  • Weekly student-led Shabbat services and hearty, free Shabbat meals
  • Jewish Learning Fellowships (8 weeks of text study with a cohort of peers + educator + food)
  • Chevrutah-style, peer-to peer, learning 
  • Rosh Chodesh gatherings
  • Torah Study with a Rabbi 
  • Hanukkah party and distribution of Hanukkah accoutrements
  • Shabbat Around Westwood (students host Shabbat in their homes)
  • Senior Speeches (reflections on lessons learned in Jewish community)
  • Hillel Purim Pageant
  • Kosher for Passover meals and seders
  • Access to a fully stocked Beit Midrash (library of Jewish text)

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Hillel is the hub for Israel activity at UCLA and a guiding force for influencing campus climate as it relates to Israel.  35+ Israel affinity groups are hosted by Hillel, bringing hundreds of students closer to Israel through exploration of dual narrative, culture, travel, advocacy training, lobbying, language and learning. A trusted source for pluralistic Israel engagement on campus, we are the only campus organization that employs an Israeli shaliach (Israel Fellow) to work alongside students in an effort to establish greater degrees of confidence about and love toward Israel.  We aspire to show students Israel and bring an average of 150 students (Jewish and non-Jewish) to Israel each year to study, tour, immerse and learn.

Some of Our Programs:

  • Israel Learning Fellowship
  • Hebrew Conversation Hour
  • Interfaith social action/fundraiser co-hosted by Bruins for Israel
  • Israel advocacy training and lobbying (Bruin Israel Public Affairs Committee)
  • Fact Finding Journey (interfaith leadership development trip to Israel)
  • Western Region Policy Summit (convening 40-50 students from five states)
  • Giant Celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut
  • Sponsoring the largest delegation of students to AIPAC’s Policy Conference

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Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts

The Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts weaves art and culture into the Hillel experience for UCLA students and community members. Boasting five gallery spaces at 574 Hilgard Avenue, intentional and thought provoking art and creative collaborations contributes to a holistic sense of Jewish pride and curiosity.

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Some of Our Programs:

  • Annual Student Fine Arts Show
  • Annual Student Photography Contest
  • Fall and Winter Art Openings featuring art in our four gallery spaces
  • In-person and virtual lectures presented by the Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller Institute for Jewish Learning 
  • Collaborations with local museums, consulates, academic departments and organizations
  • Permanent art installations in the Hillel building
  • Mentorship for students with an interest in the arts (i.e. opportunities to curate shows and learn alongside experience artists/producers)

Alumni Impact

“Hillel attracts the most talented and driven Jewish students and serves as a hub of learning, social connection, and worship. The diverse programs I participated in gave me the tools to run for student government, and my Hillel family became my biggest support as I was elected Student Body President of UCLA. I am forever grateful for the values learned from and the doors opened by this community, which have guided my entire professional life thereafter.”

- David Bocarsly, UCLA Class of 2013 | Executive Director of Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California

“My time at Hillel helped me to understand that changing the world didn't have to be one part of my Jewish identity, it could be the entire bedrock of it. Time I spend fighting inequality is time spent being Jewish. I learned that if you see something missing in your community, it may be up to you to build it. So, when I began to launch Swipe Out Hunger during undergrad, Hillel offered me encouragement, guidance and resources that I needed - from help printing posters to bridging meaningful connections with community organizations. I am also grateful to have benefited from a strong, familial community through the Persian Community at Hillel within the greater framework of support and Jewish life that Hillel offers.”

- Rachel Sumekh, UCLA Class of 2012 | Founder of Swipe Out Hunger (the leading nonprofit addressing college hunger)


Thanks from Rachael Petru


This impact report is a testament to the commitment and hard work of hundreds of Hillel leaders and thousands of Hillel supporters like you. 

Determination has fueled our efforts through the uncertainty of the pandemic. As many of you know, early on we witnessed a collapse in student mental health. Students were desperate to safely connect. In response, we innovated by spacing apart individual tables outside our building in accordance with LA County Health Department guidance.

Upon the return to in-person classes at UCLA, we installed virus filtration in our HVAC system, learned new protocols for gathering, and witnessed our halls buzzing with masked students attending Shabbat dinners, Jewish Learning Fellowships, and Bruins for Israel events.  

We also significantly expanded our new Mental Health and Wellness programs to accommodate for the increased needs and provide preventative wellness support.

All the while, we have been partnering with philanthropic visionaries who are joining forces to grow a $30+ million Endowment Fund for the Jewish Future, which will ensure Jewish Bruin life for UCLA students for the next 100 years!

Many, many thanks to you, our lay leadership, our staff, and especially to the students who partner with Hillel! 


With gratitude,

Rachel Petru Signature
Rachael Petru

Generosity in Perpetuity

Planned and endowed gifts help ensure Hillel’s presence for years to come.

To learn all about the Hillel Forever society, click here to visit our Legacy Webpage.


Thank You Legacy Donors

Donor Honor Roll
July 2020 - June 2022

$5000+ Donors

$1,000-4,999 (Click Here) >>

$1000-$4999 Donors

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$500-$999 Donors

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$100-$499 Donors



Professional Staff and Leadership
2021 - 2022

Hillel Team Member Names

Get Social with Hillel

Venue Rental and Catering


The Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA was officially dedicated in 2002 and is located at 574 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90024. The 25,000 square foot building is a dynamically designed home away from home for thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish young adults currently enrolled at UCLA - a place where students socialize and share Jewish learning, celebrations and programs. The Grade A, multi-use building has a dedicated staff and state-of-the-art amenities (such as Wi-Fi access, a full-service/kosher-certified in-house caterer and a large Coffee Bean Bar & Lounge). We can comfortably accommodate functions of diverse size and style - such as a weekly book club for 12, dinner and dancing for 150 or a public lecture and cocktail reception for 300.


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Our Kosher Table: Gourmet Glatt Kosher Catering

 (818) 400-4655

Email: [email protected]

Learn More

Connect with Us

574 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
EIN #46-0573247


For more information, please contact:
Rachael Petru, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
(310) 926-5045 or [email protected]


(310) 208-3081 | 574 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024 | EIN #46-0573247

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