A $2.5 Million Naming Gift to UM Hillel Announced

By UM News

A $2.5 Million Naming Gift to UM Hillel Announced

By UM News
The new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life will serve more than 2,000 Jewish students on campus.

Following a tradition stretching over several generations, two of Miami’s most distinguished families, the Bramans and the Millers, have joined forces to transform Jewish student life at the University of Miami with a lead naming gift to University of Miami Hillel. 

Hillel is the largest Jewish organization on campuses worldwide. The gift will enable fundamental renovations and the building of the new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life to meet the needs of more than 2,000 Jewish students at the University of Miami.

"Our families are proud that the Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life will be the center of Jewish life on campus at the University of Miami for many years to come. UM Hillel is extremely important to us, as we have deep roots in the community and in the University," said Debra Braman Wechsler and Jeffrey Miller, Hillel at UM Capital Campaign Co-Chairs.

Through their philanthropic gifts, the local Braman and Miller families will support UM Hillel in focusing its efforts on providing students with a new state-of-the-art, welcoming and spacious facility to attract both Jewish and non-Jewish students alike. The vision includes spaces designed to inspire, such as a rooftop lounge with a balcony, Café Hillel, serving Kosher food, a renovated chapel, worship spaces, as well as offices and a multipurpose room for event programming. 

“This modern ‘home-away-from-home’ will help to inspire and shape the future leaders of the Jewish community,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala.

These spaces will provide students with room to engage, grow, socialize and connect with their peers, making UM one of the most dynamic Jewish communities in North America. The expected completion date of this project is summer of 2015. 

Over the years, members of both families have served on the University’s Board of Trustees. Miller family members have been ardent, long-time supporters of Judaic culture and studies. Their commitments have extended to the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at UM, which provides an objective, in-depth exploration of the issues and trends that have affected the Jewish people over the last 100 years. 

“The Hillel at the University of Miami not only represents the center of Jewish life on the UM campus, but it is also an important source of pride and connection between the entire Jewish community and the University,” said Jacob Solomon, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. “As a result, to have the building bear the names of two of the most respected and loved families in Miami is beyond perfect! All of us at Federation are so excited about what’s happening with the UM Hillel and are so proud to be a part of it.”

UM Hillel currently provides Jewish students with a vibrant community where they can deepen their identity, strengthen their relationships and challenge themselves with new perspectives. Hillel celebrates a weekly Shabbat on campus, participates in Alternative Breaks and other community service events, coordinates Birthright Israel trips, and offers its students a variety of leadership and professional development opportunities. 

"I am excited and committed to build a world-class facility that will enable us to foster a strong sense of community and pride for our students,” said Noreen Gordon Sablotsky, Chair of UM Hillel’s Board of Directors. 

The naming gift is part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami and Hillel’s Capital and Endowment Campaign. Hillel is an agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and participates in Create a Jewish Legacy Miami. The Capital and Endowment Campaign is still ongoing and gifts are needed to complete this worthy project. To learn more, contact Shana Kantor, 305-665-6948 or shanakantor@miami.edu.