Jan 272008
Authors: Katy Hallock

After a year of tears and toil, the CSU Jewish community finally has a home.

Friday night, students celebrated the opening of the David and Laura Merage Hillel Center, a facility dedicated to providing sanctuary to the Jewish student community, which has long lacked a haven in Fort Collins.

The 2,200 square foot facility, just across from campus on Laurel Street, will cater to the needs of Jewish students affiliated with Hillel, a national Jewish student organization, by providing office space, study rooms, a game room and two kosher kitchens.

“We are so excited to have a place that’s ours; it gives us a center on campus, and it’s great to not impose on other places,” said Jenny Edleman, a senior biology major and Hillel leadership team president.

Until now, Jewish students have met everywhere from the Gellar Center, a venue for religious students to gather, and apartments.

“We used to meet anywhere and everywhere,” said Molly Zwerdlinger, a Hillel member and CSU political science senior.

Hillel organizes social events, like a super bowl party, Shabbat services on Fridays and speakers. The center will also provide a place of worship for Jewish students.

The organization’s previous office in the Lory Student Center is now defunct.

“We hope it will create a better sense of community for people to just drop in,” Edleman said.

The funding for the project came from private donors supporting Hillel. David and Laura Merage funded all of the renovations inside the new center. Hillel is also planning on acquiring the house next door and tearing it down to create a bigger yard.

“It’s great to be a part of such a beautiful center that makes a great presence in the community now,” said CSU Junior David Johnson, “It gives a Jewish person driving through Fort Collins a sense of home, seeing the Hillel sign.”

Staff writer Katy Hallock can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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