GW Hillel’s new building will provide communal space for students to connect with their Jewish identity and be a hub for cultural, religious and educational opportunities.
After years of preparation, GW Hillel is finally moving into its new state-of-the-art home in the heart of downtown at 2300 H Street NW.
The new 21,000 square foot facility, along with the programs and services housed within it, aims to provide the Jewish students of George Washington University the tools they need to lead meaningful, vibrant Jewish lives during their time on campus and beyond.
Adena Kirstein, GW Hillel’s executive director, guided viewers through each floor of the new space while students shared how they will utilize the new space as part of a virtual tour hosted Tuesday.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of the power of community and was thankful that GW Hillel’s new home would be a place for students to gather once it is safe to do so.
“Our organization has always thrived to meet students 'in the moment' and help them hone in on their values so that they may positively impact the world,” Ms. Kirstein said. “Our new home will be a launchpad to continue this work and a space for students to gather with joy, to feel nourished and supported, and to grow.”
GW’s Honey Nashman Center for Civic Engagement also will occupy the third and fourth floors of the new building.
GW Hillel was temporarily located at 2101 F Street NW as the new building, which is located at the same site as the original Gewirz Center, underwent a multi-million-dollar rebuild.
The newly renovated facility will provide indoor and outdoor communal space for lectures, studying, and events. The building also will offer in-house kosher dining for daily meals and holiday gatherings, a resource to be utilized by both “kosher keepers” and the wider GW community.
Founded in the 1930s, GW Hillel serves GW’s nearly 4,500 Jewish students as well as the broader GW and Washington, D.C., communities through social, emotional and academic support programs.
Benjamin Levinson, a sophomore studying sociology and Spanish who helped guide the virtual tour, said he had not been plugged into Jewish life on campus until COVID-19. However, due to programming going virtual this past year, he said he was able to participate in the Jewish Learning Fellowship, a project on social justice, and a variety of online conversation groups.