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The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. Hillel Building Promising for Jews

A "dream tour" of the newly constructed N.C. Hillel building last week gave students a glimpse of a physical enhancement of Jewish life at UNC.

Hillel is a student organization that provides a center for Jewish life on campuses across the state.

Construction of the facility began in the middle of October 1999 after a $3.6 million fund-raising campaign. While the completion date is slated for November, this preview gave Hillel members an opportunity to explore the facility and consider possible functions, activities and furnishings for each room.

"We wanted to brainstorm all of the great things that can be done here," said Or Mars, executive director of Hillel. "The building needs to be alive, and students will bring life into it."

The two-story building is located on Cameron Avenue. The first floor includes administrative offices, a great room, dining area and state-of-the-art kitchen designed to accommodate individuals who practice a kosher diet.

Hillel hopes to operate the kosher kitchen as a UNC ONE Card-compatible dining option for students in the future.

The second floor offers a game room, lounge and study areas available to students during the day and night.

And a sanctuary on each floor will meet the worship needs of both Reform and Conservative Jews.

"We're building a place for people to be, not just a place for programs," Mars said.

Students also say they look forward to taking advantage of the building's amenities. "It will be a great place to come during the day to hang out between classes," said Hillel member Alex Stein, a junior history and music major from Maplewood, N.J.

Although the building's primary function is to serve Hillel members, the organization hopes its use will extend to groups throughout campus and Chapel Hill. "We constantly have to dream and use the building in the best ways we can," Mars said. "The building will be an important force in the student body as well as the community."

After temporary relocation to the Wesley Foundation during the construction process, Hillel members are eager to move to their new home on Nov. 13.

Hillel members are confident that UNC Jewish students will be able to benefit from the new facility. "I think it will really facilitate great things for Jewish life on campus," said Adina Dubin, Hillel treasurer and member of the building design committee. "It will be a space for Jewish students to call home."

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