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Miriam Loewy Friend Hillel program to be dedicated Wednesday

October 06, 2009

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Miriam Loewy Friend ’47 has been a longtime champion of meaningful Jewish experiences for students on the Syracuse University campus. On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Friend will be recognized for a significant gift she has made to Hillel at Syracuse University with the dedication of the Miriam Loewy Friend Hillel Program of Hillel at Syracuse University.

The dedication will take place at 6 p.m. in the Lender Auditorium of the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, 102 Walnut Place. Among the participants in the dedication will be Friend; Wayne L. Firestone, president of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; Lowell H. Lustig, executive director of Hillel at Syracuse University; Thomas V. Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs; the Rev. Kelly Sprinkle, interim dean of Hendricks Chapel; and Helene Kahn, president of the Hillel Student Board. SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor will also be in attendance. Members of the SU community are welcome to attend.

Friend’s gift will provide for the numerous programs that are held at the Winnick Hillel Center and throughout campus to engage students in Jewish life. “Mrs. Friend’s gift to Hillel at Syracuse University is transformative, as it will enable us to reach generations of Jewish students through her commitment to these young people,” says Lustig.

Hillel at Syracuse University is committed to creating meaningful opportunities for students to explore social, educational, cultural and religious programs that add value to their studies at SU. Hillel is uniquely positioned to engage students in a range of experiences that will challenge them to evaluate new ideas through the lens of Jewish identity. Through attending experiential programs such as FreshFest or Birthright Israel, participating in a Shabbat experience or saving lives through the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Donor campaign, students develop friendships and memories that last a lifetime.

Friend’s commitment to today’s Jewish students comes from her own experience as an SU student in the mid-1940s, when options for worship were limited on campus. In the late 1990s, while attending a Shabbat service in Florida, Friend heard a student from SU speak about Jewish life on campus. She heard similar concerns to what she had as an undergraduate student. That interaction inspired Friend to contact Hillel staff in Washington, D.C., to see what she could do to establish the groundwork for making a Hillel facility on the SU campus a reality. This was also something the SU administration was working toward, and then-Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw and the Board of Trustees designated resources and staff toward a campaign effort for a new facility.

Friend made a commitment in the early stages of the Hillel campaign, in memory of her husband, Sidney, sister Regina Loewy Rudwick and her parents, Etta Weiss and Benjamin Jacob Loewy. She also made the final commitment that closed the fund-raising campaign in 2002. Friend visited the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life for the first time in 2003.

“Miriam Friend has always understood that Hillel is well positioned to capture a significant population of Jewish students at this critical moment, when they are making life choices about their future professional life,” says Lustig. “How are their values going to influence and frame the choices that these young people are making as they leave this institution to make their mark on the world?”

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