BREAKING: Legal threats from Hillel International over Passover force Guilford Hillel to change name to Guilford Chavurah
Once again, Hillel International has exerted legal pressure against a Hillel at a small liberal arts college. First, it was Swarthmore. Now, it is Guilford. Over Passover, Hillel International lawyers contacted Guilford and expressed that any violation of the Standards of Partnership would be grounds for legal action. In order to create a community where all Jewish students feel welcome, the Guilford Jewish community was forced to cut its ties with Hillel International by changing its name to Guilford Chavurah.
This is yet another instance where Hillel International’s tactics of legal threats and intimidation have resulted in a Jewish campus community deciding to put Jewish values before the increasingly exclusionary Hillel name. Hillel needs to seriously reevaluate where its priorities lay if it wants to continue to serve as the foundation for Jewish life on campus. This last semester, they alienated hundreds of students at schools small and large across the country because of their insistence on putting a rigid version of Zionism before a pluralistic conception of Judaism.
Open Hillel applauds the leaders of Guilford Chavurah for choosing to value the needs of its students. It is a sad time in Jewish American history when college students are sued for trying to create politically pluralistic communities. At the same time, we are encouraged by the vision and dedication of Guilford Chavurah, and look forward to its future as a vibrant center of Jewish life.