Chabad on Campus and Hillel are two Jewish organizations that serve the needs of Jewish students at universities all across the United States.
In may ways, they are engaged in a fierce competition. They compete for student involvement and public support. Their approaches are different, but they are playing on the same turf.
But one student found that Chabad and Hillel learn from each other.
In her Master’s Thesis, Heath Watenmaker at HUC points to some of the ways the organizations influence one another. According to Watenmaker: “Largely in response to Chabad’s presence on campus, Hillel has actively tried to incorporate more of a family feel into their Shabbat experience… Perhaps as an adaptation to Hillel’s ability to successfully reach large groups of students with highly social events, Chabad now holds events like paintballing… and they have monthly social gatherings.”
While this does not account for the experience at all campuses, this is a development that is wonderful to see.
Watenmaker, Heath A. Building Bridges, Creating Community: How Hillel and Chabad Reach out to Students on Campus. HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses. Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion School of Jewish Communal Service. May 2006: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=5126