Sklut Hillel Center celebrates 5th anniversary

The center, named for Elon parents Eric and Lori Sklut P'14, has become the focus for Jewish life on campus since it was dedicated in 2013. 

True to its nature and mission, the Sklut Hillel Center drew a large crowd on Friday, Sept. 29, for a celebration and time of fellowship and connection. The occasion was the 5th anniversary of the building’s service as a center for Jewish life on the campus of Elon University and throughout Alamance County. The house and property at North Antioch and East College avenues was dedicated in 2013 as the new home for Elon Hillel, a member of a worldwide organization that fosters personal connections to Jewish life, learning and Israel. 

The center is named for Eric and Lori Sklut, parents of Mason Sklut ’14. The couple made a lead gift to fund the center through the Levine-Sklut Family Foundation. Renovated to become the center, the building previously housed the Truitt Center for Religous and Spiritual Life. Among the additions was the Hebrew phrase “Baruchim Ha’Baim” — “Welcome” — displayed prominently in the center’s large main floor room.  

“We wanted it to feel like a welcoming place,” said Nancy Luberoff, Hillel director at the time the center was dedicated, in a commemorative video created to mark the anniversary. “That really was the theme of the building.”

The 5th anniversary celebration was an opportunity to renew thanks to Eric and Lori Sklut for their years of support of Elon. Eric Sklut serves on the Board of Trustees and the couple has served as co-chairs of the Jewish Life Advisory Council at Elon.

President Connie Ledoux Book talked about the transformative impact the Sklut Hillel Center has had on Jewish Life at Elon, remarking on the building’s warm, welcoming feel and the rich programs that draw students from many faiths to the facility. Following her remarks, she presented the Skluts with a painting of the building in recognition of their generous stewardship of Hillel and the university.

Eric Sklut spoke about the early idea of providing a center for Jewish life at Elon and the excitement his family felt as the project grew from dream to reality. 

The Sklut Hillel Center is a vital center for the nearly 500 Elon Jewish students and a hub for students of any faith. The center regularly offers programs including Shabbat dinners, Shabbat rituals, Bagel Brunches, cooking classes, discussions, meetings and holiday celebrations. It includes a modern kitchen, a patio/sukkah, offices, a conference room and a business lounge that provides a home-like atmosphere. 

“It’s a space where you can feel welcome no matter what your background is,” said Jeff Stein, associate vice president and chief of staff at Elon. 

Dedicated to both Jewish life and Jewish studies on campus, the Skluts supported an endowed professorship, the Lori and Eric Sklut Scholar in Jewish Studies, now held by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Geoffrey Claussen.