Jewish Student Guide to Campus Life

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.

antisemitism on 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

Choosing Judaism: Learn the Basics

Find answers to some of the frequently asked questions people ask when they consider converting to Judaism on this page.

Jewish Practices and Customs 

Look at the holidays that Jewish followers practice along with the customs they use on those major events and how many celebrate.

Shabbat Traditions Give Jewish Students Home Away from Home

See how some Jewish students learn how to feel at home on their college campuses when they practice religious customs.

Judaism in Your Home 

This website features some basic information on how Jewish people use their faith at home when praying and doing other things. 

Traditional Jewish Rituals and Mourning Practices

Discover more about the funeral traditions Jewish people use as well as how they mourn their lost loved ones.

Travel Talk: Test Your Kosher Travel IQ 

Test your knowledge of staying kosher while traveling and what Jewish people can and cannot do while away from home.

Berachos 30 Davening While Traveling 

Learn the best ways to pray and use other Jewish practices as you travel by different modes of transportation.

Jewish While Traveling

Lilit Marcus talks about her experiences traveling alone as a Jewish woman to places around the world.

Brief of Amici Curiae Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty

This PDF goes over a major case brought before the United States Supreme Court regarding religious freedom. 

A Gentile’s Guide to the Jewish Holidays 

Use this site to learn the basics of Jewish holidays such as when they happen and what they mean in the Jewish tradition. 

Religious Accommodations

School & Workplace Accommodations for the Jewish High Holidays

Learn the rights that you have and the accommodations that employers and schools must make for your faith.

The List of Religious Holidays Permitting Student Absence from School

This form looks at some of the exemptions offered for religious students that gave them excused absences from school.

Opinion: Yom Kippur: The Choice Between G-d and Grades

Elias Change looks at how students often need to decide between doing well in school and their religious beliefs.

Fitting in a Tradition

The Temple News takes a look at how students can juggle their traditions with their education during major Jewish holidays.

Considering the Impact of Fall Holidays on Jewish Students

Elliot Shapiro created this piece to help teachers see the challenges Jewish students face.

Work Restrictions and Other Obligations on Jewish Holidays

Teachers and students can use this resource to see what Jewish students can and cannot do on major religious holidays.

Studying for a Test on Shabbat

Pick up some tips from a rabbi on how to balance test prep with religious celebrations.

Religious Accommodation Request

This form gives you an easy way to request time off from school at the college level when you need a religious accommodation.

Religious Accommodation Tips 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows employers the exemptions and accommodations they must make. 

SHRM Religious Accommodations 

SHRM helps HR professionals learn about the religious accommodations they need to make when employees request time off.

jewish identity

Keeping Kosher in College

Q&A: Keeping Kosher at College

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff provides students with answers to questions about staying kosher at school.

The Beginner’s Guide To Keeping Kosher In College 

This Odyssey article helps freshmen and other incoming students what they can do to keep kosher while in college.

How to Keep a Kosher College Kitchen

Get some tips in this article on how to stay kosher while you still have fun with your friends at school.

Keeping Kosher on Campus 

A rabbi talks about his experiences and challenges in staying kosher while working on his degree in this article. 

Everything You Need to Keep Kosher for Passover in College 

Take a look at some of the foods you can enjoy on campus while you stick to your kosher diet year-round. 

For College Students Who Keep Kosher, More Campuses Offer More Options

This article looks at how some college campuses expanded their menus to offer more dishes and snacks for Jewish students. 

Keeping Kosher at Tufts 

Even if you don’t attend Tufts, this article offers tips you can use at your school to stick to a kosher diet.

Students Advocate to Expand Kosher Options on Campus 

The Miami Student released this article to look at how students demanded the school give them more kosher choices.

Retain or Reject: The Adherence to the Kosher Laws in a Canadian City 

The authors behind this piece looked at how residents in a Canadian city followed kosher laws. 

The Fundamental Laws of Kashrut 

This page covers the seven laws of Kashrut in a language that Jewish people and others can easily understand.

Articles and Books

Dimensions of Jewish American Identity

Several authors created this collaborative piece that focuses on what it means to be both Jewish and American.

Performing Americanness

Catherine Rottenberg looks at gender, race, and class as it applies to Jewish literature written in years past. 

The School of Criticism I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In

This excerpt from The Impossible Jew talks about identity and why so many Jewish people struggle in the modern world.

Identity Matters: Contemporary Jewish American Writing

Tresa Grauer created this piece, which talks about the paradox of being Jewish and using faith in different settings.

The Passing Game

Every chapter in this book comes from a different author who discusses their experiences of being Jewish and what it means to them.

A Chosen People in a Pluralist Nation: Horace Kallen and the Jewish-American Experience

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. 

Tradition Transformed 

Gerald Sorin uses his experiences to talk about how Jewish people changed throughout history based on the world around them.

Hanukah Bush: The Jewish Experience in America 

Peter S. Lemish discusses his experiences as a Jewish child growing up in the United States while others around him celebrated Christmas. 

Sometimes Jewish, Sometimes Not

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.

The Price of Whiteness

In this book, Eric L. Goldstein looks at Jewishness as a race and the issues that led to people hiding their identities.

Jewish College Students in the United States

This older article written by Alfred Jospe offers an interesting look at how the experiences of Jewish students changed at the college level.

Particularism in the University: Realities and Opportunities for Jewish Life On Campus

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. 

jewish college women

Dealing with Antisemitism

The ADL-Hillel Campus Antisemitism Survey

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.

Stopping the Tide of Campus Antisemitism 

Jonathon Greenblatt writes about the experiences Jewish students have on college campuses and what schools can do to stop those attacks. 

Are Jewish Students Feeling Forced to Hide Their Identity on Campus? 

Evan Gertsmann looks at how the rise of antisemitism affects college students and what it might mean for the future.

How Hard is it to Be Jewish on College Campuses? 

This piece takes a detailed look at the challenges and problems students face at school simply because of their faith. 

Some Jewish Students Say They Feel Ostracized on College Campuses Over Support for Israel 

A reporter for The Boston Globe met with college students to get their feedback on how their opinions affected them in school.

Antisemitism is Rising at Colleges

In a piece for The Wall Street Journal, a reporter discussed the rise of antisemitism happening at colleges across the nation.

What Jewish Students Need from University Leaders Right Now

 This opinion piece published in The New York Times shows colleges what they can do to stop the current wave of antisemitism.

 How Rising Antisemitism Impacts Jews on College Campuses

Learn more about the impact that antisemitism has on both college campuses and the Jewish students at those schools.

 1st Poll of Openly Jewish College Students

 This press release reveals the results of a study that found many students who identify as Jewish feel unsafe and afraid in schools today.

 New Study Shows Jewish Students Are Self-Censoring, but Are They Also Leading the Push to Censor Others?

 Samuel J. Abrams talked with Jewish students to find out if they felt they needed to censor others because of their experiences.

Mental Health

Jewish Americans and Mental Health 

This study takes an in-depth look at the mental health issues facing Jewish people in the United States today. 

ADH2 and Alcohol-Related Phenotypes in Ashkenazic Jewish American College Students 

Learn more about the phenotypes found in certain groups of Jewish college students and what it means to their mental health.

Jewish Mental Health Values 

Created by the Blue Dove Foundation, this site identifies eight principles rooted in Judaism that apply to mental health challenges. 

Judaism and Mental Health

My Jewish Learning looks at how Judaism relates to mental health and where discussions appear in historical and religious texts. 

Stress & Trauma Toolkit 

This page features resources and links to help Jewish students find ways to cope with stressful situations and any traumas they experienced. 

Mental Health in the Jewish World 

The statistics found here about suicide among Jewish people lead to a frank discussion on why we need to talk about the topic. 

Jewish Americans and Mental Health 

This study shares some of the data found in an epidemiology study of Jewish Americans and the mental health challenges they face. 

The Changing World of Jewish Law and Mental Health 

Alan Rosenbaum discusses the reasons why rabbis ignored mental health issues for so long and why this changed in recent years. 

Jewish Mental Health Organizations 

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.

Opening Up About Mental Health is a Jewish Problem

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.


Aish Campus 

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 

Chabad on Campus has organizations at more than 800 schools around the world and helps more than 150,000 students every year. 

Hillel International 

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

Young Judea takes trips to Israel with students every year and offers summer camps and other programs that are open year-round.


Israel on Campus Coalition

Find out how to stand up for Israel as a member of this organization, which offers grants to students as well as fellowships. 

Jewish Heritage Programs 

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 

Project Kesher welcomes student volunteers to help with some of its events which include fundraising for Jewish causes and charity runs.

The World Union of Jewish Students

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 

Jewish on Campus lets students report any antisemitism they experienced and become ambassadors in the political world. 

Jewish Law Students Association 

Open to law school students and pre-law majors, this association offers mentor programs and helps students make professional connections. 

Clubs/Get Involved

Alpha Epsilon Phi

This Jewish sorority is only open to female students and offers help for them both while they’re in college and after they graduate.

Alpha Epsilon Pi 

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.

Sigma Alpha Mu

The men who join this fraternity become part of an elite brotherhood that includes some of the top Jewish men in the world.

Sigma Delta Tau

Another sorority for women, Sigma Delta Tau wants to empower women and help them become the strong leaders the world needs.

Reform Judaism

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

Big Shot celebrates some of the world’s top Jewish entrepreneurs and asks them for advice that college students can use. 

Funny, They Don’t Look Jewish! 

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 Melting Podcast 

The hosts behind this podcast address topics such as news coming from Israel, antisemitism, and Jewish literature. 

Ancient Land, Modern Stories

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 

Neil Lazarus is the mind behind a podcast that challenges listeners while motivating and educating them at the same time. 

Judaism Unbound

Designed to empower listeners, Judaism Unbound believes in teaching others and encouraging them to use their faith. 

Streetwise Hebrew 

Guy Sharett focuses on what people today can learn from the experiences of those in Israel and what it means to be Jewish. 

Can We Talk? 

Named for Joan Rivers’s iconic catchphrase, this podcast looks at issues that affect Jewish people and others such as reproductive rights. 

Jewish Lives 

The Jewish Lives podcast takes a detailed look at important Jewish figures such as Elie Wiesel and Mel Brooks. 


DJCF College Scholarships

Check out some of the scholarships available from the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation and see how to apply online.

AJHS Academic Awards

Not only does the American Jewish Historical Society offer fellowships and other prizes, but it also hands out scholarships to Jewish students.

Jewish Dayton Scholarships

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.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Greater Toledo

Students who live in Toledo and other areas of northwest Ohio can apply for scholarships of $500 to $2,000 through this local organization.

Jewish Federation of Greater Naples

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: Finance Your Education

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. 

Jewish Community Foundation San Diego

Based in California, the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego has two scholarship programs for students and shows them how to apply to each one. 

Brawerman Fellowship 

The Jewish Federation offers the Brawerman Fellowship for students in the Los Angeles area who need help paying for school.

Jewish Studies Scholarships and Awards 

Find out how to apply for scholarships and other financial awards to pay for the Jewish Studies programs offered by Arizona State University. 

Scholarships for Jewish Students 

Hillel International offers an online portal that helps Jewish students find more than 600 scholarships that include some that work at all schools.