web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » News & Views » US »

Hillel’s New CEO Discusses Group’s Campus Mission

Eric Fingerhut

Eric Fingerhut

During the discussions that led to the hiring of former Ohio congressman Eric Fingerhut as the next president and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, an item Fingerhut says was non-negotiable for both parties was Hillel’s usage of its staff, resources, and reach to fulfill its stated commitment to the support of Israel.

The “Israel Policy” within Hillel’s “Israel Guidelines” states that the organization is “steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family of nations.” Furthermore, Hillel’s “Vision for Israel” states that it “seeks to provide every Jewish student with the opportunity to explore and build an enduring relationship with Israel.”

Fingerhut told JNS.org that during the interview process, members of Hillel’s board of directors “made absolutely clear” that they were looking for a CEO who would ensure that “we live up to that mission every day in our work on every campus.”

“And I will tell you that in my own thinking about this job, the clarity that the board had on that question is an important thing that persuaded me to take the job, because I am personally in my life deeply committed to Israel and would only be part of an organization that is not only pro-Israel in its own behavior, but is helping to instill the love of Israel in the people we serve, the young adults that we serve,” Fingerhut said in a phone interview the day his hiring was announced.

The 54-year-old Fingerhut, who will succeed Wayne Firestone as Hillel’s chief executive later this summer, represented Ohio’s 19th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1993 to January 1995, and was chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents from March 2007 to February 2011, a role in which he provided higher education policy advice to the state’s governor and legislature.

Asked about how Hillel should defend Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus when they are faced with challenges such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state, Firestone said he is “certainly aware” that Hillel’s commitment to Israel “is challenged from time to time on campuses,” but that the organization needs to “be strong and not just resolute, but also committed to living up to our standards and our commitment [to Israel], and I can assure you we will do that, and certainly work with those who I need to work with to make sure we have the right strategies in place to implement that commitment.”

Hillel’s Israel Guidelines address the BDS movement in the “Standards of Partnership” section, which states that the organization “will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.

There is an ongoing debate in the Jewish community surrounding Hillel’s partnership with the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street. While J Street and its supporters believe J Street’s approach to Israel engages certain pro-Israel students who otherwise would not be part of Hillel, and note that Hillel has reached out to J Street to help with anti-divestment efforts, others oppose J Street’s inclusion under Hillel’s umbrella on the grounds that J Street has helped bring pro-BDS speakers to campus.

Where does Fingerhut stand on J Street? He said he was “not going to speak to specific groups other than Hillel,” and re-emphasized Hillel’s mission to be “a pro-Israel group that not only supports a free and democratic, secure Israel, but that also is seeking to instill a love of Israel in the students that we work with.”

“Obviously I well understand that there will be debate within the pro-Israel community about how you best do that,” Fingerhut said. “I’ve watched the Knesset, they debate. The Israelis debate all the time. In college campuses…students are wanting to hear various sides of different issues, but all of it, within Hillel, would be within the context of a love of Israel, an unequivocal support of Israel. And so any students and organizations who subscribe to that will be welcome, those who don’t are not. It’s that simple.”

Hillel, founded 90 years ago, has grown to more than 550 locations at colleges, universities, and communities across North America. Fingerhut said there are “enormous similarities” between his roles at Hillel and the state university system he oversaw in Ohio.

“A university system is a large, sprawling, decentralized organization,” Fingerhut said. “In the case of Ohio, it had 14 public universities, 23 community colleges, each having their own faculty senate, their own board, their own administration – and yet the chancellor of the system was expected to lead with a clear vision, to ensure quality across the system, to address problems when they arose on individual campuses.”

What Fingerhut said he discovered as chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents was that his task “required a certain kind of leadership style that I possess, that it’s about persuading people that we are better off or stronger… when we work together as a collective whole, when we work together as a system, than when each individual works separately.”

Fingerhut said his legislative years would also translate well to his new role leading Hillel, because they gave him experience with building coalitions – something he feels is important for Hillel to do with campus groups outside of the Jewish community. Over the course of ten years in Ohio’s state senate, during which he served with the minority (Democratic) party, he said he was considered a successful officeholder specifically because of his ability to put together coalitions.

Hillel needs to similarly build coalitions on campus, he said, “because we are a minority, that’s the reality of the Jewish people.”

(JNS)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Hillel’s New CEO Discusses Group’s Campus Mission”

  1. When "support of Israel" becomes "Thou shalt not criticize Israel," a line is crossed that never should be crossed. Loyal American routinely criticize our government, and many other governments. If Hillel cannot maintain the same standards, it is not worthy of support.

  2. The issue is not about criticizing Israel. The issue is there has been a massive, unjust, mean spirited, anti Israel sentiment on college campuses led by a bunch of overzealous, bigoted, and hateful people. Israel is the only country in the middle east that has a democracy and is a justice centered nation. They should not have to suffer from slanderous , inaccurate, and frenzied attacks from the pro Arab side.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Rabbi Shai Piron (L) and Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid party chairman. (archive)
Education Minister: Hamas Terror Won’t Prevent Israel’s Children from Learning
Latest News Stories
An abandoned van with no explosives or anything suspicious inside prompted a Australian Jewish school to evacvuate 200 students out of fear of a bomb attack.

If “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Diaspora Jews are in big trouble.

The security cabinet authorised Thursday the emergency call-up of 10,000 IDF reservists. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel would continue to pursue Hamas leaders anywhere and at any time, and added that the current campaign would “take time.” Ya’alon called on the Israeli public to display patience and strength while the army deals with the […]

George Galloway on an anti-Israel rant in Leeds.

The Jewish community in Belfast, Northern Ireland is bracing for violent backlash as the city prepares for an appearance by radical British MP George Galloway on Saturday night. Last month, Palestinian supporters smashed windows twice at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation following a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the city. Now, representatives for Galloway say the 1,000-seat Ulster […]

Israeli school year will begin as planned, and schools “are prepared for any security-related events.”

19:42 Two warnings of rockets in Be’er Sheva, warnings of rockets Hatzerim , site of Air Force base, Eshel HaNasi,         northwest of Be’er Sheva 19:22 pm  Ashdod 19:21 pm  Kiryat Malachi and surrounding area 19:14 pm  Ashkelon Coast 18:49 pm  Sderot18:29 pm Kibbutz Saad 18:17 pm   Eshkol 18:04 pm Multiple rocket warning in Sha’ar HaNegev […]

Gaza workers continue to search for the body of Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif after an IAF air strike August 20.

PA Arabs stoned an Egged bus near Halhoul, north of Hebron Wednesday. The attack took place near the site where the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel were discovered on June 30. No injuries or property damage were reported.

Non-stop rockets on south; Yadlin: Hamas rocket stockpiles dwindling.

Prime Minister Netanyahu praised joint IDF, Shin Bet efforts ending in terror deaths.

Three more terrorists killed in IAF air strike on Sheikh Radwan section of Gaza City Thursday.

One Israeli man was wounded Thursday making sure children escaped rocket fire in time.

Raed al-Attar was an extremely dangerous, sophisticated Hamas terrorist. But he is dead.

Royal Jordanian Airlines has again canceled flights to Tel Aviv over fears of rocket fire from Hamas.

IAF fighter pilots eliminate 20 terror targets in Gaza since midnight, killing six in the region.

Three top Hamas military commanders were killed in overnight air strike by the Israel Air Force, the Shin Bet has confirmed.

More Articles from Jacob Kamaras
Jacob Ostreicher

News of Ostreicher’s escape from Bolivia broke Dec. 16, and little was known about the circumstances of his return to America until actor Sean Penn told the Associated Press on Dec. 18 that he was with Ostreicher following a “humanitarian operation” to free the Jewish businessman “from the corrupt prosecution and imprisonment he was suffering in Bolivia.”

Former President George W. Bush (Credit: White House photo/Eric Draper)

Former president George W. Bush made a surprise appearance at the 50th anniversary tribute gala of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last week in New York, saying Iran cannot be trusted when it claims its nuclear program has peaceful intentions.

The “red line” associated with Iran’s nuclear program or Syria’s use of chemical weapons has sparked an ongoing international debate, in which both Israeli and Diaspora Jews have made their voices heard. But a debate that hits closer to home for American Jews is about where Jewish federations in their communities draw the line on funding programs associated with varying opinions about Israel.

During the discussions that led to the hiring of former Ohio congressman Eric Fingerhut as the next president and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, an item Fingerhut says was non-negotiable for both parties was Hillel’s usage of its staff, resources, and reach to fulfill its stated commitment to the support of Israel.

June 28 will mark the start of the 23rd annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland, whose closing event is a concert that routinely draws 20,000-25,000 people and exemplifies the re-emerging broad appeal of Jewish culture in a country that was home to three million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

In the wake of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new demands on Israel following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent apology to Turkey for the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, Netanyahu has come under fire by some Israeli leaders. Israel’s raid on the ship that was ostensibly attempting to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza left nine Turkish citizens dead. Those Turks reportedly attacked Israeli soldiers on board.

President Obama on Monday nominated former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel, who has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for his record on Israel, as his new secretary of defense.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/hillels-new-ceo-discusses-groups-campus-mission/2013/07/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: