UM Hillel Breaks Ground on New Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life

Center made possible by $2.5 million lead gift from two distinguished Miami families.

By Margot Winick
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 16, 2014) — On the final day of the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, University of Miami Hillel held a groundbreaking ceremony to officially begin construction on the new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life. Thanks to a lead naming gift of $2.5 million from two of Miami’s most distinguished families, the Bramans and the Millers, who were on site for the groundbreaking, UM Hillel will be renovated to meet the needs of more than 2,000 Jewish and non-Jewish UM students alike. Plans include a new lobby, kosher café, dining room, multipurpose classroom space, and prayer sanctuary.

“Here at the University of Miami, Hillel gives Jewish students a place to call home—a place where they can connect with their culture, deepen their spirituality, energize their commitment to community service, and develop relationships that will last a lifetime,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala.

The event, which was attended by UM students, trustees, donors, local and national Hillel leadership, and members of the local Jewish community, was held outside the current Hillel building and in front of a “sukkah” or booth, made from branches and palms, following Jewish tradition.

“Hillel helps nurture and engage our community. Here, students find meaning and purpose. Yes, they find food, and many times, they find themselves,” said Jacob Solomon, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. “Hillel is the best chance the Jewish community has to impact Jewish identity. Across continents, 18 time zones, and on 550 campuses in North America alone, this foundation helps build the future of the Jewish people.”

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International, said, “Our success in building Jewish life on campus depends greatly on our university partners. President Shalala, thank you for that partnership and for the good soil on which to grow and thrive here on campus.”


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From left, Jeffrey Miller and Debra Braman Wechsler, Hillel at UM Capital Campaign co-chairs; UM President Donna E. Shalala; and Noreen Gordon Sablotsky, chair of UM Hillel’s Board of Directors.

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