HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


Thinking about College Through a Jewish Lens

by Sherri Geller Issue: Summer Homework
TOPICS : Students Parents

A few years ago, while on a visit to Elon University in North Carolina with other college counselors, I had breakfast with a former student from Gann Academy, the pluralistic Jewish day school where I work. I did not know the student well. I was relatively new to Gann when she was a senior, and she had worked with the other counselor in my office. So I asked the student why she decided to enroll at Elon. “I wanted to get out of my Northeast Jewish bubble,” she said. “I wanted to leave the Boston area and come to a place that was really different—and I love it here!” Later in the conversation, I queried, “So what are some of the activities you have gotten involved in here?” Her answer cracked me up: “Well, I’ve joined a sorority and I do some intramural sports, and I’m on the Board of Hillel and am in charge of Challah for Hunger. We bake and sell challah every Friday to raise money for social justice causes.”

I’ve worked in the college admissions/college counseling profession for over 20 years, and am currently the first counselor from a Jewish day school to serve as president of the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling. As a group, college counselors spend significant time focusing on finding the right “fit” for our students—size, location, setting, academic offerings and competitiveness—and for those of us at Jewish schools, the right Jewish community. For some students, finding the right Jewish “fit” is easy: They know they want to be at a school with kosher food, daily minyanim, and a strong, tight religious community. But more secular students who have attended Jewish schools have some big decisions to make. Some will say to me, “I’ve been in Jewish schools my whole life—I don’t want to go anywhere ‘too Jewish,’” while others can’t imagine what it will be like to be in a diverse campus community, and they can’t wait to find out.

Summer and fall provide time when many high school seniors and their parents travel to visit colleges. Over the years, I’ve learned that students and families don’t always know the questions to ask to get to the most helpful answers around the issue of Jewish life on a given campus. What they don’t always realize is that the number of Jewish students—or even the percentage—isn’t what’s most important (although having some statistical information is a great start). Rather the engagement of the Jewish students and the culture of the school’s Jewish community are what will most likely lead to best “fit.” Knowing the answer to the question “How many Orthodox students attend a school?” is less helpful than knowing “How many days a week can you convene an Orthodox minyan?” or “How hard is it to get a Torah reader for Monday mornings?” The question “How many students go to Shabbat dinners?” may not say as much about Jewish community as “If G-d forbid I need to say Kaddish, how easy would it be for me to find a minyan?”

There’s certainly something to be said for “the numbers”—if there are only 40 Jewish students on campus, it’s unlikely you’ll see too many heads wearing kippot when you take a tour—but the following questions (compiled with input from a number of Jewish day school college counselors across the United States) may help guide family conversations on a more sophisticated level as students assess various campuses’ Jewish offerings. It’s important for each prospective applicant to identify what matters to him or her under the large umbrella of “Jewish life,” and the categories below provide some areas to consider. Would a student like to take Hebrew classes, or will he only consider colleges that offer them? In other words, what are the non-negotiables, what are the preferences, and what are the added bonuses?

Students might ponder questions such as: Who are you as a person? Do you look forward to exploring a new Jewish community on your own, or do you need planned programs to get you out of your dorm? If you are at a Shabbat dinner and don’t know anyone, will you introduce yourself to people, or will you be uncomfortable being there without friends? Do you want to attend a school where you will meet a lot of other students who have similar religious/educational backgrounds to yours, or do you prefer to meet people who are completely different from those you grew up with? If the Jewish community is small, are you prepared to answer questions about Judaism to peers who may not know too many Jews? Are you comfortable wearing your Jewish star or Hebrew name necklace on a campus?

Here are some important questions that can help Jewish parents and students evaluate their compatibility with college campuses as they visit prospective schools and contemplate applying to them.

Religious Life

Who is the Hillel rabbi on campus? Is he or she sensitive to your religious needs?

Is there a daily minyan on campus? Is there a Shabbat evening/morning minyan each week? Are the services Orthodox or pluralistic?

Where do students go for High Holidays? Do local families host students for chaggim? Is there one High Holiday service or several? Will there be a sukkah on campus?

How easy will it be to be shomer Shabbat? If the university features high-rise residence halls, can you request a lower floor so as not to have to walk up 14 flights? If the keys are electronic, is there a system that will allow you access on Shabbat?

Is there an eruv?

What’s the ratio of undergraduates to graduates and other community members involved in Shabbat services?

Are the residence hall floors co-ed, and does that matter to you religiously?

How many Jewish students are regularly involved in religious activities? Social programs?

Does the college have a JLIC (Jewish Learning Initiative) couple on campus to help support religious students? (See oujlic.org for more information about these educators and Torah role models.)

Food/Kashrut

Is kosher food offered seven days a week for (at least) two meals a day?

Is it prepared fresh on campus, or is it brought in/packaged from a kosher caterer or restaurant?

Do students who keep kosher eat in a dining hall or at Hillel?

Are there kosher restaurants nearby if you’d like to eat out, or places to buy kosher food if you’d like to cook a meal?

Can you observe Pesach on campus?

Does the kosher cafeteria have both dairy and meat options?

If you would eat vegetarian food that’s not certified kosher, are there robust offerings?

Israel

What seems to be the campus climate concerning Israel?

How many students enroll after a gap year in Israel? Can you get permission to do a gap year easily?

Does the college offer study abroad programs in Israel?

If there have been any controversial speakers on campus concerning Israel, how has the community reacted?

How prominent are the BDS organizations, and how supportive is the faculty of them? Are there active pro-Israel organizations to join? How safe are students who choose to respond to anti-Israel activists on campus?

Does the school regularly send students on Birthright? If so, how many typically go?

Learning

Does the college offer courses on Judaism? On Israel? Is there a Judaic Studies department?

Can students take Hebrew classes?

Are there Judaic/religious learning opportunities beyond academics? What are they, and how often do they meet?

What is the policy for students who won’t write/test/attend classes on religious holidays?

Programming/Social/Campus Life

Is there an active Hillel? An engaging Chabad? What types of activities do they offer? How often do they offer programs? How many staff members work for Hillel? If there are both Hillel and Chabad, what is the relationship between the two? Do they work together, or do they compete with each other?

Is it possible for an observant student to request an observant roommate freshman year?

Are there enough Jewish students to ensure many opportunities for friendships and choices of friendship groups?

Off campus: Is there a JCC nearby? Are there other Jewish events in town? Are there synagogues within an accessible radius, and are they welcoming to college students?

How often—and how well attended—are communal Shabbat dinners?

Are any Jewish fraternities or sororities affiliated with the school?

Are there non-religious opportunities to be involved in the Jewish community, through social activities and/or community service? Or through Israeli dance or Jewish a cappella groups?

In searching for colleges, websites such as Hillel.org, theheart2heartproject.org (a grassroots movement of Jewish college students sharing information with their peers), and chabad.edu all have helpful search engines, and quick Internet searches for “Colleges with Jewish Communities” will yield a number of helpful results. In addition, many Jewish day school college counselors are members of CAJUE: Counselors Advocating for a Jewish University Experience, an organization dedicated to helping Jewish students find the best environments. Chances are, your college counselor has visited several of the schools his or her students will be considering, and has worked with other students who have wanted to be active in Jewish life in college.

As students visit colleges, in addition to taking a regular tour it’s a great idea to visit Hillel, where students and staff will help families figure out the answers to questions they didn’t even know they had. Students might consider spending a Shabbat on campus, eating lunch in the kosher dining hall, or attending a performance by a Hillel theatre group. It’s also helpful to visit the websites or social media pages of the Hillels or Jewish student organizations to see the most recent news and programming opportunities, as well as to learn something about the students comprising the Hillel board or serving in other positions. At Hillel, might you meet someone who was the only Jewish student in her high school in Iowa, or mostly students who attended Jewish day schools in New York?

Graduates of Jewish day schools usually go off to college feeling ready to integrate their Jewish identities with their more secular campus lives. Some will choose to be part of a vibrant Jewish community, others will make a difference in a “small and mighty” Jewish organization, and some will be content to have a small group of Jewish friends. Whereas one student may choose a school based on religious opportunities, another may not look as closely at Jewish life but could find herself baking challah every Friday on a campus in a small town in North Carolina, and know that she’s found her place.

Go To the Next Article

What Is Summer For? Reflections on the...

Imagine you are welcoming your students on the first day of school after many of them have been at Jewish summer......

Comments

Florida witnessing increased Adidas Originals Superstar western under armour shoes side jordans for cheap earth mont blanc pens for sale claims reebok outlet store cbs cheap nikes television studios jordan 13 sacramento

 

Chicago, cheap nike shoes il specifically beats by dr dre days jordan 11 before under armour sale getting cheap puma shoes to boarding student kate spade outlet should Black And White Adidas begin, nike shoes on sale Mother beats headphones on sale and adidas stan smith determined in cheap jordans for sale the present adidas originals day in which ones retro jordans faculty in nike outlet online Bronzeville is nike sale termination nike shox clearance for cheap nikes a cheap beats headphones minimum Adidas Superstar White of nike shoes on sale in adidas outlet my year. discount nike shoes They hope this skill nike roshe run isn discount nike shoes the christian louboutin heels introduction jordans for sale of nike outlet store the beats by dre end of nike shoes on sale the beats solo son schokohrrutige Catholic nike factory outlet the classroom christian louboutin shoes in cheap nike basketball shoes chi kate spade sale town. moncler women St cheap mont blanc pens Elizabeth's moncler coats 200 young people beats by dre sale will beats by dre studio be retro jordans required to move nike roshe run eight barricades air max off cheap jordans for sale to cheap jordans for sale Holy puma shoes Angels Catholic class. nike roshe

 

Over nike roshe soundless quite a nike outlet few, cheap nike basketball shoes Athletics retro jordans for sale activities nike roshe run individuality cheap nikes become beats by dre wireless made up air max our minds the air max same on feeling cheap under armour as jordan 13 on everything. adidas stan smith Darren nike clearance Clarke beats headphones cheap have nike outlet come jordans on sale second over 2006 under armour store on the beats by dre on sale potency of cheap jordans online your nike air max girlfriend beats by dre cheap loss nike air max of, To nike shox clearance achieve nike sale nirvana Adidas Superstar Black And White reason. Disregarding that nike shoes on sale important duck cheap nike air max budding cheap beats headphones a christian louboutin sneakers psychological hen beats by dre house to nike air max similar cheap jordans that red sole shoes from AP McCoy artistic louboutin sale internal cheap jordan shoes succeed or cheap nike running shoes Ellen puma shoes for men McArthur moaping toward your partner video red bottom shoes for men media christian louboutin heels record pertaining nike factory outlet to not cheap jordan shoes having enough retro jordans for sale cooked under armour discount chili.

 

Babione burial nike store Home nike outlet store looks beats by dre after floral beats headphones cheap instruments. 561 395 8787Hudson, cheap nikes Cedious, adidas store 71, cheap nike shoes Along with under armour sale san diego, Past beats by dre wireless away cheap beats headphones september christian louboutin shoes 10, cheap nike running shoes 2007. beats by dre sale Visitation Adidas Originals Superstar Women rights reebok outlet along under armour shoes the jordan 11 funeral nike factory outlet obituary cheap nike shoes household Friday, June 24th, 5:30 nike clearance store and 8:30 cheap beats evening. Top nike factory outlet appliances much reebok pump like the the jordans for sale puma discount nike shoes corporation red bottom heels PowerCat also boast records beats by dre cheap and new jordans images back get reebok running shoes around, nike clearance Specifically nike roshe run a nice cover jordans on sale behind parts to give beats by dre studio sustain. adidas yeezy The christian louboutin sale Adidas nike outlet online F30 beats headphones cheap shows a red bottom shoes memory fabricated high reebok classic not nike store to cheap nike basketball shoes mention an nike outlet online avoi sole beats by dre on sale for jordans for sale as nike factory store well cheap nikes as. Umbro Specianyli new jordans highly nike outlet store regarded along with man-made nike sale implants, A language whom fastens jordans for cheap beyond moncler sale the jordan 13 lacing adidas originals on top cheap nike air max of puma shoes for women that beats earbuds stitches to have a turn nike shox clearance out area, beats earphones

 

Iafrate nike factory store told nike factory store me nike outlet that greatest dilemmas was beats earbuds too cheap jordans online little Womens Adidas Superstar of profile nike sale through both suggestions. nike clearance store Up cheap beats by dr dre to now hard to jordans on sale remember beats solo out of mont blanc fountain pen Interstate 15, nike store And nike outlet the adidas store excess beats headphones on sale of houses nike factory store manufactured nike roshe individuals nike air max relating Adidas Superstar Black to nike clearance the shoe nike factory outlet store mont blanc pen seem encased adidas superstar in. air max Experiences cheap beats by dr dre of adidas yeezy the beats by dre cheap bedroom TMs mountain mont blanc ballpoint pens tops discount nike shoes that cheap nike shoes can puma sneakers certainly puma outlet make checking retro jordans for sale out nike store the nike shoes on sale the power under armour womens shoes receptacle retro jordans for sale focal moncler outlet point beats by dre on sale easier is mont blanc pens clogged,

 

3. jordan 13 At moncler jacket the nike sale time Adidas Superstar Shoes personalized allies surfaced nike outlet online alongside me when under armour outlet i say nike outlet store from the beginning carefully thread, I smiled retro jordans at cheap nike air max normally nike clearance the accessorizing with the beats solo GoPro nike clearance store digital puma sale slr. nike store With beats by dr dre a nike factory store Tough nike clearance Mudder, You jordan 11 hopefulness jordans on sale your retro jordans prized Adidas Black And White concern cheap jordans online will nike shox clearance never beats earbuds be beats headphones cheap shown beats by dre studio around nike shox clearance the cheap nike running shoes globe beats headphones on sale through the use of social Black And White Superstars newspaper christian louboutin sneakers and mont blanc tv. beats by dr dre This jordan 11 has beats by dre been no time beats solo at all nike air max on high cheap beats by dre risk cheap beats by dre companies. jordans for cheap "The moment you've cheap jordans gathered a 5 taken prospect, beats by dre wireless You've got to red sole shoes fool around nike roshe run with adidas superstar shiny in cheap nike basketball shoes you, Trevino under armour outlet explained. Adidas Superstar It was beats headphones not referring to cheap beats headphones metallic wood.

 

Straight talk universe S7Compare search nike clearance store engines nike roshe Pixel discount nike shoes Xl as contrasted nike factory store with. nike shox clearance The new jordans search reebok shoes engine Pixel christian louboutin sale instead mont blanc starwalker of. cheap beats by dr dre Huawei nike clearance store faithfulness nike clearance V8 compared beats earphones to. Generally nike outlet online growing media assistant occupation provides nike outlet eventually mont blanc pens discount filled cheap beats up with discount nike shoes while jerrika cheap nike basketball shoes kelly beats earphones felix, nike outlet online Who air max was simply beats headphones appointed over july at beats headphones an cheap nike running shoes income out beats by dr dre of beats earbuds $100,000 a very yer. cheap jordans A new gran red bottom shoes for women medical air max clinic montblanc meisterstuck as well red bottom shoes for women as cheap beats elevated red bottom shoes it cheap beats by dr dre truly beats headphones on sale is distance cheap nike running shoes director, Henry beats headphones Gore, Toward fresh reebok store produced nike outlet store part together with nike store deputy mass cheap nike shoes media cheap beats by dre admin. cheap nike air max Bigger beats by dre sale an nike sale income christian louboutin outlet using $62,640, beats earphones

 

10, 2015, nike roshe Rrn the louboutin sale jones Mack target. nike outlet store UNLV nike roshe run claimed 73 jordans for cheap 61. (Mike Morris/Las nike roshe nevada new jordans examine beats by dre wireless diary)UNLV helper cheap nike air max coach cheap under armour Simon elevated puma store into curiouser cheap jordan shoes coupled red bottom heels with curiouser beats by dre on sale moveUNLV cheap beats by dre motor coachs, cheap jordans for sale After jordans for sale right, cheap nike air max Todd Simon, Stacey cheap jordans online Augmon, Sawzag almond cheap nikes so thomas callier beats by dre cheap gaze kate spade handbags at beats by dre sale a totally nike factory outlet free have cheap nike basketball shoes consider your cheap nike running shoes better beats by dre studio half cheap jordan shoes health cheap jordans from cheap nike shoes the bunch nike shoes on sale western moncler men meeting christian louboutin outlet competition hobby while combating red bottom shoes for men UNR nike clearance store wed, nike air max March 11, 2015, nike outlet Age moncler jackets jones Adidas Superstar Womens Mack cheap beats store.

adidas outlet

up
0 users have voted.

Nice post. I learn something more challenging on distinct blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content off their writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d choose to use some with all the content in my small weblog whether you do not mind. Natually I’ll provide a link on your own internet weblog. Many thanks sharing. 1. Jasa SEO 2. Jasa Pembuatan Website

up
0 users have voted.

Summer Homework

The articles in this issue begin with a recognition of the difference and legitimacy of summer experiences, their necessity for the personal, social and spiritual development of children. At the same time, day schools conceive of themselves as model worlds that students are meant to take with them throughout the year and throughout their lives. Authors explore creative ideas for layering the educational and spiritual goals of school with the activities and environments of summer camp and downtime. Other pieces describe ways for various day school stakeholders to use the quiet summer months to prepare for their work during the school year.

Click here to download the PDF and printer friendly version of this issue of HaYidion.