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Hillel Plans National Drive To Fund Its New Home

By Erik J. Dahl

The Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel Society will begin a $2 million fund-raising campaign within the next few weeks to fund its move to a building it already leases at 74 Mt. Auburn Street, the chairman of the fund drive said yesterday.

Henry Morgenthau III, president of the Friends of Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel, said the Hillel Society is in "kind of a crisis situation." He called its current home at 1 Bryant Street "decrepit and overcrowded" and said the new building is in need of extensive renovation.

Morgenthau said he hopes the drive will raise enough money by next summer to allow Hillel to move into the new building by the fall of 1978.

The first phase of the drive will be an effort to solicit large individual donations, and will get underway within "a matter or weeks" after the Board of Directors of the Friends of Hillel meets, Morgenthau said.

Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold said yesterday that because of crowding problems at Hillel's present headquarters, "We are in a real squeeze, and we hope to move as quickly as possible."

The number of Hillel members has doubled in the past ten years and because most of the new members are low-income students, the larger numbers have caused problems with funding as well as building space, Gold said.

Two Homes Not as Good as One

He added that Hillel needs to move as soon as possible because the society bought its lease on the Mt. Auburn Street building over a year ago and has been paying for it since.

Morgenthau said it will cost about $500,000 to renovate the Mt. Auburn Street building, and that another $600,000 will be needed to establish a maintenance fund before Hillel can move in.

The major part of the drive until November will be aimed at donors in the Harvard community, and after that the campaign will expand to a national effort, Gold said.

Preliminary fund-raising began last June in the Boston area, but further Boston efforts have been delayed until November to avoid conflict with a similar drive planned by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Gold said.

This is the first fund-raising campaign for Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel, Gold said. Hillel receives operating funds from contributions, the National Hillel Foundation, and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, he added.

The Hillel campaign comes at the same time as a fund-raising drive by supporters of a Harvard Judaic Studies Center, but Gold said he does not think the two drives will conflict.

"Jewish studies without a live Jewish community would be completely untenable." Gold said, adding he hopes donors will be able to give to both campaigns.

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