If Not Now, When: An Open Hillel Conference

If Not Now, When: An Open Hillel Conference

From Open Hillel

Open Hillel is creating a first-of-its-kind conference, bringing people from across the political spectrum on Israel-Palestine to discuss and learn together. Curious? Donate!

Support this campaign

Subscribe to follow campaign updates!

Recent Updates

Update #2

over 3 years ago

When Open Hillel first came up with the idea of having a conference months ago, the idea of it actually coming together seemed like a distant possibility. We were a group of students and young alumni who had created an organization that had a starting budget of $0.00. Yet we knew the importance of creating a Jewish community where every member is equally valued, and we were committed to making that happen. There is an urgency we feel that the time is now to say that those with views like ours or views like our friends are also a part of Hillel.

And now, because of every single one of you, our dream is happening. We have raised enough money to guarantee that the conference can go forward.

Yet our work is far from done. We still need to create travel stipends for students so that our conference can be accessible to everyone. We are trying to raise money to bring in at least 30 different speakers. Will you help us get there? Please donate, share, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell anyone and everyone about this remarkable grassroots conference that is getting planned. We have raised enough to make it happen. Now let's raise enough to make it truly extraordinary.

More Info

Judith Butler.  Rashid Khalidi.  David Harris-Gershon*.  All these thinkers, experts in their fields, have been excluded from Jewish institutions because of their views on Israel-Palestine.  And though these events are the ones that make the news, every day, Jewish students and young adults are alienated from Jewish communities because they feel that these communities -- with their monolithic view on Israel-Palestine -- don't represent them.

Open Hillel seeks to change this.  We want a Jewish community where the full diversity of Jewish views on Israel-Palestine is accepted and celebrated.  We want a Jewish community where vigorous discussion, respectful debate, and free discourse are the norm.  We want a Jewish community that all Jews can feel included in, not just those who pass a political litmus test.  We've campaigned for over a year for Hillel to be such a community.  And now, for the first time, we're modeling what that community could be like -- with the Open Hillel Conference.

This conference will create a space for open conversation on Israel/Palestine and other issues of importance to the Jewish community, without external restrictions. Because Hillel International limits the kind of conversations we can have, we decided to show the limitless potential of a conversation not bogged down by "standards of partnership" and the political whims of big donors. 

We will be inviting left-wingers, right-wingers, Zionists, Anti-Zionists, Non-Zionists, two-staters, one-staters and everyone in between or outside of that spectrum to share their thoughts and ideas on Israel-Palestine. And we'll look beyond the Middle East as well, discussing issues facing our Jewish communities here in America.

We will, in short, be having a great time.

Want to see what will happen? So do we -- but we need your help. Unlike Hillel International, we don't have big donors willing to cut us million-dollar checks. We're a grassroots organization of students and young adults, run entirely by volunteers, with no funding from any outside source. Please consider donating whatever amount is best for you to make this event a reality.

------------------------------------------------------------

With your support, If Not Now, When? An Open Hillel Conference will be held October 11-13, 2014, at Harvard University.

This conference has no affiliation with the organization, If Not Now. 

------------------------------------------------------------

* Please note that no speakers are yet confirmed. 

Due to a press release sent out regarding the Open Hillel conference that was unclear, some media sources have mistakenly reported that Judith Butler, Rashid Khalidi, and David Harris-Gershon are confirmed speakers at the upcoming Open Hillel conference.  This is not the case -- no speakers have yet been confirmed, as we are still in the fundraising stages of our conference planning.  These individuals were mentioned in the press release merely as examples of people who have recently been excluded from Jewish institutions, to demonstrate the kinds of people we intend to invite and the kinds of discussion we intend to have at the conference.

Campaign Wall

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

Help Open Hillel raise $25,000 by making a donation.

Open Hillel . posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

First 10,000 Dollars Raised - Help Us Keep Going

When Open Hillel first came up with the idea of having a conference months ago, the idea of it actually coming together seemed like a distant possibility. We were a group of students and young alumni who had created an organization that had a starting budget of $0.00. Yet we knew the importance of creating a Jewish community where every member is equally valued, and we were committed to making that happen. There is an urgency we feel that the time is now to say that those with views like ours or views like our friends are also a part of Hillel.

And now, because of every single one of you, our dream is happening. We have raised enough money to guarantee that the conference can go forward.

Yet our work is far from done. We still need to create travel stipends for students so that our conference can be accessible to everyone. We are trying to raise money to bring in at least 30 different speakers. Will you help us get there? Please donate, share, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell anyone and everyone about this remarkable grassroots conference that is getting planned. We have raised enough to make it happen. Now let's raise enough to make it truly extraordinary.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

Open Hillel . posted a new update:
almost 4 years ago

Why This Conference

I remember when Rachel Sandalow-Ash, our internal coordinator, first proposed the idea of having an Open Hillel conference. It was over an email (almost all of Open Hillel conversations occur through the internet since we all live in different parts of the country), and as soon as I read it, I was thrilled. It perfectly addressed a major need I think many of us in the campaign have been experiencing - the need to have serious, informed, conversation about Israel/Palestine without censorship. We wanted to have, and had been fighting on our campuses for the right to have, informed conversations with informed speakers across the spectrum on this topic. We wanted to have these conversations in the Jewish spaces that are supposed to represent us, but were told time and again that representing the major donors was more important.

Of course, once we got dreaming, we felt no need to limit ourselves to this topic. We wanted to talk about the future of Judaism in ways unrelated to Israel/Palestine as well. We wanted to offer trainings on grassroots organizing. We wanted to meet fellow students from across the country in an uncensored way to hear their thoughts.

The more we talked about it, the more excited we became. Quickly, we grew to realize that we weren't just creating a conference on Israel/Palestine - we were modeling a new kind of way that the Jewish establishment could interact with our generation - a way that was bottom up and grassroots rather than top down and prescriptive.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen. Our fundraising prowess can't rival that of Eric Fingerhut or AIPAC. But we sincerely believe that our cause is appealing enough and important enough that we will be able to at least get enough money to hold this conference, despite what we are up against.

Interested in helping us? Send us an email at openhillel@gmail.com and we will get you involved right away.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or