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Illini Hillel: 100 Years In The Making


Rabbi Ben Frankel founds Hillel “for the Jewish students of the University of Illinois a religious, moral, social, and recreation center, to teach the principles of the Jewish faith, and to cooperate with other similar agencies in the cultivation of a moral and spiritual life.” 

Dr. Abram L. Sachar serves as faculty advisor to Hillel.

He also serves in the History department of UIUC, specializing in modern English history. 


B’nai B’rith adopted Hillel at the University of Illinois and allocates $1 million for the expansion of Hillel around the country.

Frankel was appointed first national director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations.


650 Jewish students enrolled and identified as Jewish, compared to 1923 when only 100 students openly identified as Jewish.

Rabbi Louis L. Mann of Chicago was named national director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, following Frankel’s death.


Dr. Adam Sachar becomes the next national director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations.


Dr. Sachar retires as national director. Under his leadership, Hillel grew from 9 chapters to 157 throughout US and Canada.


Illini Hillel building opens at the corner of Fifth and John, where it is still located today. The building is named the Benjamin Frankel Memorial in honor of the late Rabbi Frankel


It was designed by Max Abramovitz, a Jewish American architect. He also designed the State Farm Center and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at U of I. 


Hillel Kosher Dining Club is established.


Hillel hosts its fiftieth anniversary celebration. Dr. Abram L. Sachar speaks at the ceremony.


The Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) grants certification to the Hillel Kosher Dining Club of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation.


Illini Hillel receives the National Hillel Center Burns Ethics Grant for the inception and implementation of Alternative Spring Break. A program that is still running today. 


Ilini Hillel wins The William Haber Award for programs of quality for the Jewish campus community. 


Illini Hillel's new facility opens at the corner of Fifth and John. It is named the Marjorie K. and Louis N. Cohen Center for Jewish Life. 


The 500 block of John street is given the honorary name of Ben Frankel Way after the late Rabbi Frankel, Hillel's founder. The decision is unanimously approved by Champaign City Council. 


Illini Hillel celebrates 100 years of Jewish life and community on campus and prepares for the next 100 years to come.

Executive Directors:

Rabbi Benjamin Frankel: 1921-1924

Rabbi Louis L. Mann: 1925-1927

Dr. Abram L Sachar: 1928-1929

Rabbi Judah Goldin: 1939-1947

Rabbi Sanford E. Saperstein: 1947-1950

Rabbi Samuel Berkowitz: 1950- 1953

Rabbi Benjamin Rudavsky: 1953- 1956

Rabbi Hirsch Cohen: 1961- 1964

Rabbi Nathan Gaynor: 1965- 1969

Rabbi Ed Feld: 1969-1972

Rabbi Steven Steinberg: 1972-1977

Howard Alpert: 1977- 1980

Rabbi Stephan Sniderman: 1980-1985

Mark Mulgay: 1985- 1986

Rabbi Jeffrey Falick: 1989-1996

Andrea Hoffman: 1996-1997

Hershel Worsh: 1997-1998

Alan Potash: 1998-2003

Joel Scwitzer: 2003-2010

Rabbi Raif Melhado: 2010-2011

Rabbi Rogerio Cukierman: 2011-2013

Erez Cohen: 2013- Present

Student Presidents:

Morris Sostrin: 1923

Howard Cohlan: 1940

Jeremy Fine: 2001-2004

Jessica Melhado: 2006

Brittany Abramowicz: 2008

Sammy Marks: 2009

Lena Shapiro: 2010

Joshua Gibbs: 2011

Roxie Zeller: 2012

Robert Schnitzer: 2013

Joseph Winner: 2014

Evan Frank: 2015

Dakota Karson: 2016

Danah Kirsh: 2017

Irene Zharnitzky: 2018

Itamar Steiner: 2019

Mollie Kramer: 2020

Alena Fishkin: 2021

Rachel Weingart: 2022

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