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August 28, 1992 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-08-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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BACK-TO-SCHOOL

Insider's Guide

A sample of Jewish life on colleges across the country.

ALICE SCHWEIGER AND
JENNIFER FINER

Special to The Jewish News

C Noosing a college
can be an over-
whelming task.
There are so many
factors to consider
— finances, location,
curriculum, size and
social atmosphere. For Jewish
students and their parents,
there's an added factor — Jew-
ish life on campus.
A tour of the campus and a
meeting with an admissions of-
ficer skim the surface. Talking
to Jewish students who attend
a particular school is helpful al-
though their answers may be
colored by their own experi-
ences.
Not to be forgotten are the
guidebooks — for Jewish stu-
dents, two in particular. The

Hillel Guide to Jewish Life on
Campus: A Directory of Re-
sources for Jewish College Stu-
dents, published by B'nai B'rith
Hillel Foundations, is great for
basic information. A new edition
is due out this fall.
The Jewish Students' Guide
to American Colleges by Dr. Lee
and Lana Goldberg is more sub-
jective. It contains thumbnail
impressions of 93 better known
schools around the county. It
was published in 1989 so the in-
formation should be current.
Then there is the following
guide, based on the Hillel di-
rectory, university spokesmen
and student comments. The
student's own level of commit-
ment and interest determine
how actively he or she partici-
pates in that life. But there is
also an "objective reality," as one
expert put it, with the atmos-
phere and offerings on some
campuses making participation
easier and more comfortable
than at others.
The student perspective
about Jewish life on these cam-
puses depended on religious af-
filiations and preferences. For
some, Shabbat services and
kosher meals were of para-
mount importance; for others, a
variety ofJewish activities. Fol-
lowing is a compilation — an in-
siders' guide that's not always
in agreement and not the final
word on Jewish life on campus
but hopefully a helpful start to
find a college.

AA

PRIDAY_LLIGIRT NA=

THE EAST

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
Washington, D.C.
General population: 10,200
Jewish population: 2,950
Kosher food: Weekly Shabbat
dinners and holiday meals;
dorm cooking facilities are
available
Religious services: Friday
evening, High Holidays and
Passover seder
Contact: Hillel (202) 885-3322
Comments: There is an active
Jewish life, with monthly
socials, an Israeli group which
promotes Israel and a
community service program.
Hillel has become more active
over recent years.
Student Perspective: Suzy
Bass, 21, Newton, Mass., "I
am not involved in Hillel, but I
know there is a large
population ofJewish students
at American. It is a learning
experience to be around
Jewish people because I went
to high school where there
were no Jews."

BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Boston, Mass.
General population: 25,000
Jewish population: 6,000
Contact: Hillel (617) 353-
3633
Comments: Nothing but raves
for the Hillel, at which 200 to
300 students participate in
Shabbat services and an
Orthodox minyan meets daily.
Also at Hillel, kosher meals,
numerous social and
educational programs. Even if
they aren't active in Hillel,
there are enough Jewish
students to form a strong,
identifiable group.
A tip: A Lubavitch-sponsored
Chabad House just opened in
Boston. Its Shabbat meals and
activities are available to all
Jewish students in the Boston
area.
Student Perspective: Megan
Friedman, 18, West
Bloomfield, Mich., "There is a
big Jewish population at BU.
There are fraternities and
sororities and a Hillel, which
has special programs during
the holidays and they get sold
out pretty easily. It was not
hard to meet Jewish people
because I lived in a large dorm
and that made it easy to meet
people."

BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Waltham, Mass.
General population: 3,600
Jewish population: 2,100
Kosher food: Full kosher
menu available
Religious services: Friday
evening, Saturday morning,
High Holidays for Reform,
Conservative and Orthodox
Contact: Hillel (617) 736-3570
Comments: A wonderful place
to be Jewish. Brandeis
recently underwent a change
in presidents; the new
administration is reportedly
making the school less
"universalistic" and more
"Jewish." The Jewish student
body used to be overwhelm-
ingly Conservative and
Reform but now includes a
growing Orthodox population.
Student Perspective: Nancy
Epstein, 19, Pepper Pike,
Ohio. "I came from a high
school that was half Jewish so
I was used to being around
Jewish people. I decided to go
there because it is a great
school and I wanted to be in
the Boston area and I wanted
to go where I was not a

minority."

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
BARNARD COLLEGE
New York
General population: 18,000
Jewish population: 7,000
Kosher food: Kosher board
plan and cafeteria; vegetarian
alternatives; dorm cooking
facilities
Religious Services: Daily
minyan/Shabbat and holidays;
learner's Shabbat service
Contact: Jewish Office -
Council ofJewish
Organizations
Comments: Conservative, Or-
thodox and Reform groups;
theater; a singing group,
activists for social and
communal causes, women's
network and women's efilah;
Perspectives magazine.
Student Perspective: Shani
Cohen, Atlanta, "Jewish
students would be very
comfortable here, but it's not a
close-knit Jewish community
... There is very little dialogue
between the Orthodox, Con-
servative and Reform groups
of students."

CORNELL UNIVERSITY
Ithaca, N.Y.
General population: 17,000
Jewish population: 3,200
Kosher food: Kosher dining
facility; vegetarian dining
alternatives
Religious Services: Orthodox
and Conservative-Egalitarian
Shabbat minyan, High
Holidays; Conservative-
Egalitarian, Reform, Orthodox
by Hillel; Conservative
synagogue; Chabad House
Contact: Hillel (607) 255-4227
Comments: Major social,
educational and social action
events; communal activities,
magazine, choir and Israeli
folk dancing. The school's
unique Jewish residence,
called Young Israel House,
offers kosher dining as well as
accommodations for 30
students. Several Jewish
housing coops are found off-
campus.
Student Perspective: Randi
Meyer, 23, 1990 graduate, "If
you're Jewish, you can
probably find someone who
shares your background no
matter how religious you are
... I found there were Jews
everywhere I went on campus
and in every class."

GEORGE WASHINGTON
UNIVERSITY
Washington, D.C.
General population: 14,700
Jewish population: 4,500
Kosher food: Students can
sign up for a kosher meal
plan, which is prepared in the
only kosher restaurant in the
city housed in the Hillel
building.
Contact: Hillel (202) 296-8873
or (202) 296-8658
Comments: They have an
active Jewish student body,
which engages in many social,
cultural and educational
activities.

HARVARD 'UNIVERSITY
RADCLIFFE COLLEGE
Cambridge, Mass.
General population: 16,700
Jewish population: 4,000
Kosher food: Hillel offers daily
dinners and a Shabbat lunch;
kosher food is available
locally. Religious Services:
High Holiday, Friday evening
Reform and Saturday
morning Conservative and
Orthodox; Orthodox services
throughout the week

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