A place of peace

(L-R) Rabbi Daniel Bogard, Bradley President Joanne Glasser, Bradley Hillel President Zachary Dalin ’13 and Bradley Hillel Adviser Dr. Seth Katz officially dedicate the new home.

By Abby Rhodes
September 22, 2011

When Zachary Dalin ’13 arrived on campus for his freshman year, he was promised two things: a world-class university experience and a new home for the Jewish student organization, Hillel, before his graduation. Bradley is making good on both assurances this semester, with the grand opening of the University’s new Hillel house. 

“I knew when I came to Bradley that I wanted to maintain my Jewish identity and I immediately found my place with Hillel,” said Dalin, who is now president of Bradley Hillel. “This house, three times the size of our previous residence, is not just a place to pray and eat, but indeed a second home.”

Located at 1532 W. Fredonia Ave., the 4,200-square-foot expanded residential structure was more than a decade in the making and the fruit of dedicated collaboration between Bradley Hillel, the University and the Peoria-area Jewish community. Representatives of each group gathered for a dedication ceremony on the home’s front lawn Sept. 21.

“Having an attractive, highly functional facility for Jewish life on campus will help make the University a more attractive, diverse, and welcoming place,” said Dr. Seth Katz, faculty adviser for Hillel and an assistant professor of English. “This home will be yet another proud gem that is part of the rich community that is Bradley University.”

It is Bradley’s third Hillel house, but the only one to feature kosher meat and dairy kitchens certified and supervised by the Chicago Rabbinic Council (CRC). The cooking space will allow every meal served at the Hillel house to suit even the most scrupulous dietary preferences. The organization looks forward to hosting lectures and other gatherings in-house, thanks to a dining area with seating for 100, a space for social activities and a large sanctuary featuring a vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows.

“All will be welcome in this house. It’s a place of unity, so I believe this home will bring people together,” said Bradley President Joanne Glasser during the dedication ceremony. “People of different faiths will be welcome to sit and discuss their differences and their similarities. This is a place of peace.”

The home is another visible sign of Bradley’s commitment to fostering a diverse student body by accommodating Jewish lifestyles. The University’s dining service now serves hot meals from brand-new, CRC-certified kosher kitchens. Nationwide, Bradley is the only school of its size committed to providing students with kosher options at every meal. Likewise, most Hillels the size of Bradley’s do not enjoy a dedicated space.

Bradley Hillel was founded in 1947 by the late Dr. Allen Cannon.