Jewish Life on Campus - HELP!!

<p>posted this in the College Selection forum, but it was suggested I post it here as well. Any thoughts much appreciated!!</p>

<p>Looking for an unusual combination in a school:</p>

<li><p>smaller, Liberal Arts school (academically rigorous)</p></li>
<li><p>politically, socially liberal</p></li>
<li><p>active Jewish life on campus/in community</p></li>
<li><p>services held regularly, kosher food available (at least sometimes - willing to be a vegetarian if kosher food not available.)</p></li>

<p>Seems like a tough combination to find. Any suggestions??</p>

<p>Brandies and Wellesley come to mind.</p>

<p>Macalester College
meets 1 & 2 no questions
3- there is a Jewish Organization on campus, MJO, I know they have a lot of Shabaat dinners, I don't know that much about the group though because I'm not a member, but when my RA gets back from her crew trip I can ask her questions. There are a fair number of Jewish students on campus.
4- I don't know about services, I know there are interfaith services, and I think people go off campus for almost every religious service.
5- There is ALways vegetarian food available ( I would say more than a quarter of the daily options are vegetarian, and might venture to say as much as a third), the cafeteria kitchens are not kosher, but there are beef options, and non-dairy salad dressings at the salad bar and such. After freshman year, students can live in the Hebrew House (the HeHo). It is a section of dorm housing with a Kosher kitchen, the kids that live in it prepare meals. Its not a Jewish house, a lot of non-Jewish religious studies majors live in it and I know several people in the house, they all love it.</p>

<p>Go to <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Start entering information.</p>

<p>You will learn plenty.</p>

<p>Oberlin College</p>

<p>female student? Barnard</p>

<p>Wesleyan immediately comes to mind given all your criteria. Also, Brandeis, Swarthmore, Haverford, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Oberlin, Barnard, Union and Skidmore.</p>

<p>if you're a girl, smith might work:</p>

<p>~2800-student can definitely find challenging work to do here (just ask my Latin prof, who's been piling on the work recently!)</p>

<p>it doesn't get more liberal than Smith, or Northampton.</p>

<p>there are services every Friday on campus (it varies...sometimes conservative, sometimes reform, sometimes musical/learner's/experimental/etc) plus a reform temple a couple miles away (you can borrow a car from the chapel to drive there if you have a license), a conservative temple with an orthodox minyan within walking distance, a reconstructionist temple a short drive or bus ride away, a chabad family in town and one a few towns over, and the jewish (and other) resources of 4 other colleges all connected by free buses. </p>

<p>smith just opened a kosher/halal dining's not available for every meal (i don't think you can get breakfast there, for example) but the food's good and there are tons of non-meat options in all the dining rooms, so you'd be fine.</p>

<p>Small universities, not LACs - but check out Tufts, Emory, Wash U.</p>

<p>You’ve gotten a bunch of good suggestions, although not all of the colleges mentioned will meet all the criteria you list. The Hillel website is a great place to start, but don’t stop with the info you find there. Be sure to click on the links to individual college’s websites. We've found that there's often significant disconnect between the information about individual colleges’ Hillels on the website and the information that appears on individual colleges' Hillel websites themselves. College websites almost always provide deeper info, and sometimes it contradicts the info on the website. You can also e-mail Hillel directors or student leaders.</p>

<p>You mention you want to find a school with regular services. Do you mean regular Saturday morning services? That can be tough. Friday night services are pretty prevalent. At some colleges you’ll find Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox going on every Friday night, followed by a communal Shabbat dinner. But some of those same schools will have no services at all on Saturdays. At some colleges, observant kids walk to local synagogues on Shabbat morning. You would need to check with individual Hillel directors/students to see if there are choices within reasonably easy walking distance.</p>

<p>Goucher also has a fair-size Jewish population given its small size.</p>

<p>If you are female, Mount Holyoke offers a joint Kosher-Halal kitchen for all meals.</p>

<p>Colgate. </p>

<p>We have Shabbat services and dinner, occasional deli lunches and bagel brunches.... we always have leftovers (on purpose for those keeping kosher) so any student is welcome to wander in the Jewish Center to look for a kosher meal. Definitely socially liberal. We also host a bunch of other events throughout the semester.</p>

<p>Conn college says they will provide what ever food you need, Amherst has Kosher food, Middlebury has services and an active Jewish population...check out the Hillel site and definitely go to the schools individual Hillel sites</p>

<p>One factor to consider when looking at LACS: For some Jewish students, percentages are just not enough. When a college has under 3000 students, even if 15% of them are Jewish, the raw numbers may not provide enough "critical mass" to create the kind of vibrant culture a particular student is looking for. Also, if you're looking at LACs with small Jewish populations (and that's most of them) I think it's important to pay attention to the overall culture on campus, and to decide whether you'll be happy to be something of a non-conformist, or conversely, whether you'll feel uncomfortable being somewhat outside of the dominant culture. (This kind of evaluation is important for any student who in any way classifies himself or herself as a minority.)</p>

<p>Crazy as it may sound, Notre Dame is very accomodating to its Jewish students.</p>

<p>Maybe it's not so "crazy", I think Catholics and Jewish people get along quite well in this country --- ever notice how many marry each other?! :)</p>

1) Academically rigorous
2) Politically, socially very liberal
3) Kosher kitchen-vegetarian/vegan. Everything they cook is pareve and vegetarian or vegan. They do not serve kosher meals on a daily basis although there is a regular Shabbat dinner preceded by Shabbat services.
The kosher kitchen does serve meals all throughout Passover. (They have two Seders.) The students take turns cooking. There are many vegetarians at Swarthmore, as well as vegans. and the college cafeteria has many options along those lines.
4) The students are welcomed in synagogues in the surrounding community for the High Holidays. There are a few services held at Swarthmore.</p>

<p>I can vouch for the fact that what wjb is saying is quite true. I had that experience at a wonderful LAC with 2000 students. With a 10% Jewish population , that meant that there were only about 50 Jewish students in my class (and only a handful in my dorms). I loved my experience there, but it may not be right for everyone. Also consider whether or not a school may enjoy the advantages of the resources of other nearby colleges with larger Jewish populations - that was the case with my college, and it made a tremendous difference, since there were always mixers and events available at nearby schools.</p>

<p>It's a good idea, as already mentioned, to contact the school directly, not only for the numbers, but for the level of participation at the school you are interested in. I'd ask, for example, if there are weekly services, Shabbat dinners, etc. how many actually attend those. </p>

<p>Also, another school to add to your list would be Muhlenberg. Good luck!</p>

<p>I've already posted in your similar thread in a different forum, but I do want to underline something that someone else said. It's very hard to find a smaller institution that has services both Friday evening and Saturday morning. My son and I spent endless hours researching the Hillel site and then calling the various schools. My son did want the option of a Saturday service, and that knocked a lot of schools off his list. At various points, I asked him if he wanted to let this requirement go, but his answer was very firm. the one other thing that was important to him was that the school have some kind of food that was kosher for pesach (access to a kitchen, casual meals, whatever....). Other than that, he was happy eating vegetarian.</p>

<p>One of the things we discovered was that many schools have Friday night dinner and service, but if you want something on Saturday you'll have to be creative. For example, William and Mary has a Friday night service on campus and there is a conservative synagogue almost across the street. The same is true for Wesleyan University. Union College has an orthodox synagogue in walking distance. Amherst College not only has services on campus but is in walking distance of services at U. Mass Amherst. Other schools like Dartmouth had a conservative service on campus Friday evening and reform Saturday morning, plus a nearby chabad that offers an orthodox service. Muhlenberg, by contrast, doesn't actually have any services on campus, but there are half a dozen synagogues within a 6-block radius. (And they do have many social events on campus.)</p>

<p>The other thing we found out, as another poster said, is that the Hillel website is not always accurate. For example, Colgate has an active Hillel and Friday evening services. They also said they had a conservative service on Saturday morning. But when I called and spoke with the director, he said that was extremely rare...just once or twice in a semester. A similar thing happened with Franklin & Marshall. It seemingly had Friday services on campus plus a synagogue in walking distance. However, when my son called up, they said services rarely took place since the students just weren't interested. You really need to call up the directors because they can give you accurate info as well as tell you about programs starting up that aren't listed in their website that. (There is tremendous growth going on in terms of service to Jewish kids.)</p>

<p>There are over 60 campuses that now have active chapters of chabad. Some kids love 'em while others do not. My son prefers Hillel, or a regular synagogue, but did attend some chabad services last summer when nothing else was open near the U Chicago campus. The kids who go to chabad are everything from orthodox to secular, and all points in between. Anyways, here is their directory listing of campuses: .<a href=""&gt;;/a> </p>

<p>I do want to put in a good word for Brown. Son was impressed with the Hillel and the new rabbi there. However, it's not an easy school to get into. Our son was waitlisted.</p>

<p>Good luck on your search. One of the things you really need to do is think what kind of services/activities you'd like the Hillel to have. On the Hillel site, you can search using a whole range of criteria for different clubs, support groups, etc.</p>

<p>My son had trouble finding LAC's that had the kind of Jewish support and services he wanted. Plus he preferred institutions that were near a medium to large city. He found he had to expand his list to larger schools. But your requirements may be different. If you want any more info (I have a ton!), you're welcome to drop me a p.m.</p>

<p>Cami -- This will be a critical issue for my son, too. Did you do any research on either Williams or Swarthmore?</p>

<p>Yes, we researched both. Son applied to Swat. It was his other waitlist.</p>

<p>Before I can give you specific info, tell me whether you need to be able to walk to a service on Saturday morning, whether you can drive, or whether Saturday services aren't needed....</p>

<p>P.S. If you don't need to worry about Saturday services or can drive, I can also give you some positive feedback on smaller schools in Maine with a close knit but small campus Jewish community.....</p>