New Hillel building preps for opening
Tulane’s Hillel is finishing construction on its new building, with an opening ceremony planned for Feb. 2. The Jewish student organization will now be located on Broadway Street in a house offering classrooms, study spaces and a large dining hall, Hillel Rabbi Yonah Schiller said.
“We’ve never had our own space to hold functions,” Schiller said. “Now Hillel is going into a whole new area.”
Schiller said the building was created in the theme of “tzelem elokim,” the notion that all people are created in God’s image. He said the new building will serve as a place where people can maximize their ability to be individuals, and at the same time be a part of a community. That community, however, will reach beyond Jewish students at Tulane.
“We want people to feel that they can come into the building without being a card-carrying member of Hillel,” Schiller said.
Several trees indigenous to Israel are planted in front of the building, including pomegranate, fig and citrus trees.
Sophomore Alli Garner, a member of Hillel’s student advisory board, said she looks forward to the new programs that will be offered once the building opens.
“They’re going to be opening up more clubs this semester,” Garner said. “We’ll have a book club and we’re hoping to start classes in conversational Hebrew.”
One aspect of the building will be its dining options. Harveen Khera, former chef and owner of the Indian restaurant Tallula in San Francisco, is Hillel’s new chief chef. Meals will be available to students every day with Wavebucks.
“The theme of our options is international street food,” Khera said. “Think of the foods you’ll find being served in the streets of Thailand, Israel, the UK or Malaysia.”
Khera described dishes including shawarma (pita filled with tomatoes, cucumbers and vertically broiled cuts of lamb), and dosa (rice paper crepes stuffed with sautéed vegetables). The kitchen will also serve more standard fare.
“We’ll of course also have your All-American hamburger as well as lots of options for vegans and vegetarians, and gluten-free diets too,” Khera said.
The building is fully wireless and features built-in speakers in every room.
“The classrooms will hold classes in Jewish studies and other subjects at Tulane,” Schiller said. “Our rooms and dining hall will feature lecture series, film showings, and perhaps even a yoga class.”
|The Goldie and Morris Mintz Center for Jewish Life (clockwise from top left) boasts large outdoor balconies, a spacious dining room, comfortable seating in common areas and multiple classrooms. PHOTOS (4) BY NICOLE WAKS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER|