A rendering of the Hillel Center planned for the UC San Diego area.
A rendering of the Hillel Center planned near the UC San Diego campus.

Hillel of San Diego announced Sunday a $5 million gift to build its proposed Hillel Center for Jewish Life near the UC San Diego campus.

The gift from Joseph “Chickie” Glickman was announced at the Hillel’s Campus SuperStar fundraising event at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall.

“Hillel is the answer to one of the most important challenges of our time,” said Elaine Galinson, Glickman’s daughter. “At a time when young people are setting patterns for their adult lives, Hillel offers sophisticated, compelling programs to help ensure that the next generation embraces and renews the Jewish values and traditions that will guide them as they become the leaders of tomorrow.”

“We are extremely grateful for this generous gift,” said Rabbi David Singer, director of UC San Diego Hillel. “The Glickman Hillel Center will be the convening space for Jewish life on campus, and is the remaining critical piece we need to make sure that all students are welcomed into the community and have a platform for developing as leaders and thriving as Jews.”

The Beverly & Joseph Glickman Hillel Center is nearing the end of the City of San Diego’s planning review process and will soon be before the City Council for approval.

The site is a vacant, triangular parcel at Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Village Drive, near the La Jolla Playhouse and J. Craig Venter Institute. The project has faced numerous political and legal hurdles over its 15-year-history, with neighbors raising concerns about traffic and parking.

A similar Hillel center opened two years ago on the San Diego State University campus near the KPBS studios.

At the SuperStar event Sunday, ten college students from a diversity of backgrounds performed in an American Idol-style competition for $7,500 in prizes. The winner was Jazmine Rogers from MiraCosta College.

Hillel encourages students of all backgrounds to form deep, personal connections to Jewish life, learning and Israel, empowering student leaders with the creative directorship to build community on their own terms.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.