Covid-19 Update Page


August 17, 2020

A note to our community:

Considering the challenging times in which we find ourselves, Cleveland Hillel stands firm in the conviction that the most important thing to our organization is the emotional, physical and psychological health and safety of each and every one of our students, staff, friends, and supporters.

We remain committed to continue building and strengthening our Hillel community in any way we can, providing meaningful Jewish experiences, building Jewish memories, and enhancing Jewish pride.  

We know and deeply understand that this is not the way any of us expected our year on campus to play out. We also commit to keep building and strengthening our Hillel community in any way we can.

We’re following all developments closely, on all our campuses and in our communities. We are also thinking of those affected by the spread of COVID-19 and wishing everyone a refua shlaima (a full & speedy recovery).

Should you have any questions or want more information, please visit this page, which will be periodically updated as needed.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming new and returning students to all our campuses this Fall!

Cleveland Hillel staff and student leaders have been working hard to create opportunities that allow students to safely make meaningful connections and build their communities.


Click here for our growing list of FAQs and information about how Cleveland Hillel plans to provide these opportunities while dealing with living in world where COVID-19 is a reality. The FAQ will be updated as we all learn more about what we can do to safely navigate this uncharted time. 


While policy, procedure, and programming may look different, our core values remain the same and Cleveland Hillel remains steadfast in its commitment to serving the community of Jewish students throughout Cleveland and in Oberlin. Students can still expect robust, diverse, and inclusive program offerings, both in-person (when safe to do so) and online. Key areas of focus will include:

  • Helping students find friends, community, and meaningful connections

  • Leadership development opportunities 

  • Relevant and meaningful Israel engagement

  • Social justice and volunteer opportunities

  • Shabbat and holiday celebrations

  • Mental health and student wellness

  • One-on-one student engagement to help match each student to the perfect next step in their Jewish journey

Every one of the Cleveland Hillel Team looks forward to ensuring your Jewish experiences on campus remain meaningful and personally fulfilling. Contact us for more information on getting involved on any one of our campuses today!

M. Jared Isaacson 

Executive Director

Latest Message to our Student Community - August 6, 2020 

tl/dr: All of Cleveland Hillel staff share in our students’ sadness and disappointment for the new on-campus living limitations at Case Western Reserve University. But we remain committed in supporting you all and strengthening our Jewish community together. 



We know you are disappointed and sad. And so are we. 

Today’s news has made a significant impact in your lives and plans, and we know there is very little we can say to make that feel better right now. 


All of us at Cleveland Hillel knew that this possibility was sitting out there, but we – like you – were hopeful that we’d be able to find some way to be together in-person later this month, and to have a semester together that, while unfolding in new ways, would still have given us the ability to be together as a community. 


Perhaps we would have celebrated shabbat in-person outdoors or hosted a welcome back event practicing safe and respectful physical distancing. For some of us, just knowing that we would have been in the same vicinity, the same neighborhood, the same time zone, gave us comfort even with so many things still unknown and uncertain. 


But today, we all saw the changes to how Case Western Reserve University feels they can safely operate student life for the first semester of this new school year. And that means most of us won’t be able to be together in the same place in and around University Circle. 


For the past few weeks, we have been hard at work to ensure Hillel’s spaces and program efforts would be redesigned with your health and safety in mind. Everything we have done and continue to do has been guided by one overarching Jewish value: Pikuach Nefesh. Roughly translating to “Safeguarding Life”, this value supersedes most other obligations or mitzvot. Our Hillel approach for all our facilities and programs must balance any efforts to reopen or resume operations with this obligation to protect and preserve life by all means possible. 


We have no doubt that the leadership of Case Western Reserve University is following this value in their decision-making process, even if they might not know the Jewish thoughts and traditions behind it. 


We recognize that there are mixed feelings on the latest news about campus housing, and what it means for campus life this semester. Please know that Hillel is here to support you. If you have already returned to Ohio and need assistance in figuring out next steps, please feel free to contact us. 

Jill, Madison and Jared – along with every member of the Hillel staff team - will miss having you on campus, but we are looking forward to seeing you all virtually! We have been hard at work developing program ideas that would have taken place in any way we could safely gather – virtually or IRL. This is not stopping now, and we are so excited to work with you all to further develop these ideas and more. 


As we have seen these past few months, Hillel is not just a physical space, but a strong community that goes beyond doors, walls and even couches! Together, we will continue to grow and cultivate our community, no matter how we gather together. 


With love to all,
Madison, Jill, and Jared