First, thanks to all for such a helpful and lively discussion. So much wisdom here (even when people disagree, it’s always good food for thought). With regard to the role of Jewish life on campus, I think most people will recognize that there are countless different interpretations and understandings of what it means to be a comfortable school for Jewish students. For some, that means a Hillel, or Jewish activities, or a culture of tolerance, or simply a ‘critical mass’ of other Jewish students. All of these perspectives are obviously legitimate. In the case of my son, I’d frankly be shocked if he ever set foot in a Hillel. I doubt he’d ever participate in a Jewish organization. And if you asked him about it, he’d probably say the less of a noticeable religious culture (of any religion) on campus the better. To the extent that his Judaism matters to him, I think it would simply be a matter of not being the only Jewish student in his dorm, or among a small number in his class. Jews (both religious and not) share a common cultural identity, that can make one feel like less of an outsider in a country where Christianity is often the assumed default. In other words, I’m guessing that schools like Grinnell and Macalester would be just as comfortable for him as places like F&M, Clark, Union, & Trinity which may have bigger numbers. In his particular case, it was more of a problem with schools like St. Olaf or LMU, where the schools (though obviously very accepting, inclusive communities) still have obvious and visible connections to their religious roots.
Of course, like everything else, your mileage may vary.