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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Hillel Foundation Members, 1939

The first Jewish student group, the Hebrew Culture Society, appeared on campus in 1912. Despite objections, the secretary of the YMCA, Frank Porter Graham, gave them meeting space in his building. In 1936, Jewish community leaders and students organized the Hillel Foundation, one of eleven across the nation. To serve the religious needs of Jewish students, it conducted services in both the Reform and Orthodox rituals. It became an important center of Jewish life in the local area. For northern students, Hillel played a role in reducing the strain of being outsiders, although observers noted that the Jews on campus were usually interested in assimilation.