More than 500 people attended the April 2 grand opening of the Eva and Arie Halpern Hillel House on the Wilf Family Campus, in the center of the Rutgers College Avenue redevelopment project.
Rutgers Jewish student population of 6,000 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students is the second largest Jewish student population in the United States.
Following a dedication ceremony, there was the annual award presentations. Among the honorees were Dr. David Gendelberg, 2007, of Bergenfield, Young Alumni awardee; and Ben Kern, 2018, of Mahwah, and Elliot Linder, 2017, of Teaneck, among the Student Rising Stars.
Richard and Ellen Gertler of Teaneck, both Rutgers alumni and supporters of Hillel, were also there. Ellen Gertler is also a member of Rutgers Hillel’s board.
The building was dedicated in memory of philanthropists and Jewish community leaders Eva and Arie Halpern with a $3 million gift from their five children — the Halpern and Stein families. Eva and Arie were Polish survivors of the Holocaust whose first spouses died at young ages. The two married and merged their two families with Eva bringing her sons Henry and Ben Stein, and Arie his daughters Bella, Shelley, and Nanette.
The new 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility features a 400-seat kosher dining hall; individual prayer space for Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform services; a kosher indoor-outdoor café, Bistro ’70, serving vegetarian cuisine and pizza; a Center for Israel Engagement; exhibit gallery; social lounges; meeting rooms; administrative offices; an outdoor barbecue garden and front patio, and a social service center.
The Jewish Federations of Northern New Jersey is among the beneficiary agencies supporting Rutgers Hillel.