Ending a 15-year stay at 74 Mt. Auburn, members and friends of the Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel carried their Torahs a block down the street to Rosovsky Hall, the Jewish groups's spacious new home.
Even the rain that fell over yesterday afternoon's opening ceremony couldn't dampen the spirits of those who attended, including President Neil L. Rudenstine.
Rain, Hillel executive director Bernard Steinberg noted, has traditionally been seen as "a sign of blessing."
And the building, with its numerous windows, light-filled rooms and arched ceilings, could bring more students into Hillel, undergraduates said.
Rosovsky Hall provides dining space for 150 students, room for additional offices, a kitchen with accommodations for kosher cooking which separates milk and meat, and a library big enough to hold all of Hillel's books in one place.
The dining space, according to Barak Ben-Gal '96, secretary to Hillel's coordinating council, "allows us to celebrate Friday night Shabbat together."
In his remarks to the crowd of more than 500, Rudenstine said the new building at 52 Mt. Auburn demonstrates how Hillel has grown over 50 years into a centerpiece of the University.
"It is simply a wonderful odyssey to have seen...that so much that was excluded has been so triumphantly included," Rudenstine said.
Hillel's director emeritus, Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, echoed the president's remarks. Gold said it was remarkable that "a community which began 50years ago with a handful of students," has"developed into the Jewish cultural center of thiscommunity."
Rudenstine spent most of his 10-minute speechpraising Geyser University Professor HenryRosovsky, after whom the building is named.
"We can, at this moment, feel especiallyblessed, for Henry, for Hillel and forHarvard-Radcliffe," Rudenstine said.
And Rosovsky praised Hillel as a valuableresource for Harvard and Boston.
He noted that the new center opens at a timewhen "anti-Semitism is more visible than at anytime since World War II."
"Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel is all about thinkingand acting for a larger purpose," Rosovsky said.
Hillel Chair Elie G. Kaunfer '95 said he hopesmore students from the community will use the newfacility.
"Hillel opens its doors to every member of theHarvard community," said Kaunfer, who is alsosenior editor of The Crimson.
Yesterday's activities, which continued throughthe afternoon, also included the mounting of themezuzah on the center door as well as an openhouse inside the building.
The dedication festivities were preceded by amorning brunch for major donors to the fund drivethat made the building possible.
Officials have already secured $8 million inpledges to support the new building, according toDonald J. Siegel, president of theHarvard-Radcliffe Hillel Board of Directors.
Siegel said a consulting group told Hillelbefore the fund drive that they should expect toraise no more than $3.5 million for the building.
Green Not Present
While many top University officials and membersof the Hillel Board of Directors were present,Provost Jerry R. Green, who is both, was not.
Green's scheduled departure from his post asprovost has provoked questions becauseofficials--Green himself included--refused toexplain the abrupt move