Jewish Student Guide to Campus Life
The history of Jewish students in college is interesting, with Jewish students facing exclusion and unable to gain admission to what were mainly Protestant institutions. The first Jewish students in American colleges were non-practicing, and many had to forgo their Jewish identity to attend these institutions, since exams and other events were often on religious holidays. In fact, Jewish enrollment was limited to ten percent at Yale, all the way up to the late 1960s.
Now, it is assumed that about 80 percent of Jewish Americans attend at least some college, and there are experiences available for all Jews, no matter your religious background or needs. Practicing Judaism on campus is easier at some schools than others, but with the right information, you can bring knowledge and information to your campus.
Even with the high attendance of Jewish students, there are still many issues that Jews face when we attend universities. From general ignorance to antisemitic vandalism, threats, tropes or otherwise angry discourse, there are many issues that Jews on campus deal with.
This guide gives you 99 resources to help you practice Judaism on campus, get involved with Jewish organizations, deal with anti-Semitism, mental health issues and advocating for yourself. You can use this guide as a student looking to enter college, while you are in college, and as a teacher, administrator, parent or loved one looking to help your Jewish student with their transition.
Practicing Judaism on Campus
Find answers to some of the frequently asked questions people ask when they consider converting to Judaism on this page.
Look at the holidays that Jewish followers practice along with the customs they use on those major events and how many celebrate.
See how some Jewish students learn how to feel at home on their college campuses when they practice religious customs.
This website features some basic information on how Jewish people use their faith at home when praying and doing other things.
Discover more about the funeral traditions Jewish people use as well as how they mourn their lost loved ones.
Test your knowledge of staying kosher while traveling and what Jewish people can and cannot do while away from home.
Learn the best ways to pray and use other Jewish practices as you travel by different modes of transportation.
Lilit Marcus talks about her experiences traveling alone as a Jewish woman to places around the world.
This PDF goes over a major case brought before the United States Supreme Court regarding religious freedom.
Use this site to learn the basics of Jewish holidays such as when they happen and what they mean in the Jewish tradition.
Learn the rights that you have and the accommodations that employers and schools must make for your faith.
This form looks at some of the exemptions offered for religious students that gave them excused absences from school.
Elias Change looks at how students often need to decide between doing well in school and their religious beliefs.
The Temple News takes a look at how students can juggle their traditions with their education during major Jewish holidays.
Elliot Shapiro created this piece to help teachers see the challenges Jewish students face.
Teachers and students can use this resource to see what Jewish students can and cannot do on major religious holidays.
Pick up some tips from a rabbi on how to balance test prep with religious celebrations.
This form gives you an easy way to request time off from school at the college level when you need a religious accommodation.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows employers the exemptions and accommodations they must make.
SHRM helps HR professionals learn about the religious accommodations they need to make when employees request time off.
Keeping Kosher in College
Dr. Ruth Nemzoff provides students with answers to questions about staying kosher at school.
This Odyssey article helps freshmen and other incoming students what they can do to keep kosher while in college.
Get some tips in this article on how to stay kosher while you still have fun with your friends at school.
A rabbi talks about his experiences and challenges in staying kosher while working on his degree in this article.
Take a look at some of the foods you can enjoy on campus while you stick to your kosher diet year-round.
This article looks at how some college campuses expanded their menus to offer more dishes and snacks for Jewish students.
Even if you don’t attend Tufts, this article offers tips you can use at your school to stick to a kosher diet.
The Miami Student released this article to look at how students demanded the school give them more kosher choices.
The authors behind this piece looked at how residents in a Canadian city followed kosher laws.
This page covers the seven laws of Kashrut in a language that Jewish people and others can easily understand.
Articles and Books
Several authors created this collaborative piece that focuses on what it means to be both Jewish and American.
Catherine Rottenberg looks at gender, race, and class as it applies to Jewish literature written in years past.
This excerpt from The Impossible Jew talks about identity and why so many Jewish people struggle in the modern world.
Tresa Grauer created this piece, which talks about the paradox of being Jewish and using faith in different settings.
Every chapter in this book comes from a different author who discusses their experiences of being Jewish and what it means to them.
The author of this book goes back to the turn of the 20th century to look at how Jewish people changed and why it happened.
Gerald Sorin uses his experiences to talk about how Jewish people changed throughout history based on the world around them.
Peter S. Lemish discusses his experiences as a Jewish child growing up in the United States while others around him celebrated Christmas.
The authors of this piece interviewed 26 Jewish American students to find out why so many people feel as though they’re trapped in a closet.
In this book, Eric L. Goldstein looks at Jewishness as a race and the issues that led to people hiding their identities.
This older article written by Alfred Jospe offers an interesting look at how the experiences of Jewish students changed at the college level.
This article is a summary of a survey done in 2006 of over 700 students on 20 college campuses with themes of Jewish life on campus that still ring true today.
Dealing with Antisemitism
Completed in 2021, this survey looked at how often college students faced antisemitism and what those events included as well as their thoughts about them.
Jonathon Greenblatt writes about the experiences Jewish students have on college campuses and what schools can do to stop those attacks.
Evan Gertsmann looks at how the rise of antisemitism affects college students and what it might mean for the future.
This piece takes a detailed look at the challenges and problems students face at school simply because of their faith.
A reporter for The Boston Globe met with college students to get their feedback on how their opinions affected them in school.
In a piece for The Wall Street Journal, a reporter discussed the rise of antisemitism happening at colleges across the nation.
This opinion piece published in The New York Times shows colleges what they can do to stop the current wave of antisemitism.
Learn more about the impact that antisemitism has on both college campuses and the Jewish students at those schools.
This press release reveals the results of a study that found many students who identify as Jewish feel unsafe and afraid in schools today.
Samuel J. Abrams talked with Jewish students to find out if they felt they needed to censor others because of their experiences.
This study takes an in-depth look at the mental health issues facing Jewish people in the United States today.
Learn more about the phenotypes found in certain groups of Jewish college students and what it means to their mental health.
Created by the Blue Dove Foundation, this site identifies eight principles rooted in Judaism that apply to mental health challenges.
My Jewish Learning looks at how Judaism relates to mental health and where discussions appear in historical and religious texts.
This page features resources and links to help Jewish students find ways to cope with stressful situations and any traumas they experienced.
The statistics found here about suicide among Jewish people lead to a frank discussion on why we need to talk about the topic.
This study shares some of the data found in an epidemiology study of Jewish Americans and the mental health challenges they face.
Alan Rosenbaum discusses the reasons why rabbis ignored mental health issues for so long and why this changed in recent years.
Use this resource to find a list of organizations that help Jewish students find mental health help and links to each one.
The Jewish Family and Child Service offers events for those struggling with their mental health and online support for students of all ages.
Shelly Jay Shore uses this piece to talk about her own struggles and why so many Jewish students have a hard time talking about their own.
This link goes to a site that is for sale and doesn’t have any other information on it other than the current price.
Chabad on Campus has organizations at more than 800 schools around the world and helps more than 150,000 students every year.
Get a free trip to Israel as a member of this organization that offers resources to help Jewish students feel safer at home and at school.
Young Judea takes trips to Israel with students every year and offers summer camps and other programs that are open year-round.
Find out how to stand up for Israel as a member of this organization, which offers grants to students as well as fellowships.
Designed for Jewish leaders, the programs available through this organization help them gain practical experience and network with others.
KEMDA is a social organization for Jewish students that gives them different opportunities to help others in need such as volunteer programs in major cities.
Project Kesher welcomes student volunteers to help with some of its events which include fundraising for Jewish causes and charity runs.
Shaping the Jewish community and giving students the voices they need are the two main goals of this organization, which is open to college students.
Jewish on Campus lets students report any antisemitism they experienced and become ambassadors in the political world.
Open to law school students and pre-law majors, this association offers mentor programs and helps students make professional connections.
This Jewish sorority is only open to female students and offers help for them both while they’re in college and after they graduate.
This club has branches on many college campuses in the United States and helps students gain valuable leadership and professional experience while they’re in school.
The men who join this fraternity become part of an elite brotherhood that includes some of the top Jewish men in the world.
Another sorority for women, Sigma Delta Tau wants to empower women and help them become the strong leaders the world needs.
This site includes dozens of programs in NYC, Washington DC, and other cities as well as information on how to apply for grants.
Big Shot celebrates some of the world’s top Jewish entrepreneurs and asks them for advice that college students can use.
In this funny podcast, the hosts talk about experiences they had in the past and meet with others to chat about their experiences.
Ranked as one of the top Jewish podcasts, this one features three hosts that talk to new guests and share interesting stories weekly.
The hosts behind this podcast address topics such as news coming from Israel, antisemitism, and Jewish literature.
Winner of several major awards, this podcast highlights a different person during each show to talk about how they shaped and helped the Jewish community.
Neil Lazarus is the mind behind a podcast that challenges listeners while motivating and educating them at the same time.
Designed to empower listeners, Judaism Unbound believes in teaching others and encouraging them to use their faith.
Guy Sharett focuses on what people today can learn from the experiences of those in Israel and what it means to be Jewish.
Named for Joan Rivers’s iconic catchphrase, this podcast looks at issues that affect Jewish people and others such as reproductive rights.
The Jewish Lives podcast takes a detailed look at important Jewish figures such as Elie Wiesel and Mel Brooks.
Check out some of the scholarships available from the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation and see how to apply online.
Not only does the American Jewish Historical Society offer fellowships and other prizes, but it also hands out scholarships to Jewish students.
Find out how to apply for scholarships from Jewish Dayton and learn more about student loans to pay for school through this organization, which offers interest-free loans.
Students who live in Toledo and other areas of northwest Ohio can apply for scholarships of $500 to $2,000 through this local organization.
Located in Naples, Florida, this Jewish Federation branch helps students find and apply for scholarships to pay for college and special summer programs.
Yeshiva University provides a list of all the scholarships it offers students and walks them through how to apply for other types of financial aid.
Based in California, the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego has two scholarship programs for students and shows them how to apply to each one.
The Jewish Federation offers the Brawerman Fellowship for students in the Los Angeles area who need help paying for school.
Find out how to apply for scholarships and other financial awards to pay for the Jewish Studies programs offered by Arizona State University.
Hillel International offers an online portal that helps Jewish students find more than 600 scholarships that include some that work at all schools.