The Hillel Foundation on Langdon Street is looking to upgrade its current facility in favor of a more spacious, accommodating and eco-friendly building. The new building would be built on Hillel’s current site and would be approximately 30,000 square feet, according to Hillel’s executive director Greg Steinberger. “That’s roughly three times the space of the current building,” he said. The building will be named the Barbara Hochberg Center for Jewish Life, according to Steinberger. “She was a powerhouse in the Jewish community, she had a lot of firsts,” Steinberger said. “She was the first woman to chair the Chicago Jewish United Front campaign, and she was very involved with Hillel. Her husband is a 1957 Madison graduate.” The expansion is very important for the growing Jewish community in Madison, Steinberger added. “There are around 5,000 Jewish students on campus,” UW senior and active Hillel member Alex Sheridan said. “It’s a very large and vibrant community, and I think it’s clear to anyone who walks down Langdon or comes in the building that the current building is not equipped to accommodate the community. The new building will be gigantic. It will provide ample space for students to meet without feeling like they are on top of each other.” The new building will have a lot more space, Steinberger said, as well as some exciting additions. “We will have a kosher dairy cafe, more office space and meeting space for the 30-plus student groups that meet here,” Steinberger said. “We will have much larger spaces for assembly and holiday services. For instance, we have two holiday services here, one on campus and one at Hillel. We believe the new facility will allow us to have both services in the house.” The current building lacks comfortable space for students to spend time, according to Steinberger. “One thing we do not have in the current building is hang-out space where students can sit down and eat with friends and talk,” Steinberger said. “So that is going to become a mainstay of the new building.” The new building will also be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, Steinberger said. LEED certification means the building would comply with current government standards of sustainability and energy efficiency. “It will be a very environmentally enlightened building,” Steinberger said. “We are shooting for a very energy-efficient, water-efficient, heat-efficient building with a good use of natural light. We believe we will be the first LEED-certified building on campus.” Sheridan said he hopes a new facility will better serve the students and increase participation. “The new building will have a kosher cafe and new media centers,” Sheridan said. “These things will help Hillel engage students on a daily basis.” Steinberger also hopes expanding the facility will benefit the university community as a whole. “The space will be great, and we do view it as very much a part of the campus community,” Steinberger said.
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