Q: How many Jewish students are at Amherst?
A: There are approximately 200 Jewish students at Amherst, which is just over 10% of the overall student population.
Q: I'm not very religious, is there a place for me at Hillel?
A: Hillel is the main Jewish organization on campus, and we welcome everybody, including non-Jewish students.
Q: I come from a very observant Jewish background, is there a place for me at Hillel?
A: Hillel is the main Jewish organization on campus, and we welcome everybody. Observant students also attend Chabad of the Four Colleges and the Modern Orthodox community at UMass Hillel (JLIC/KHH) which are a short walk from campus.
Q: Is there kosher food on campus?
A: Amherst Dining only provides a Kosher for Passover meal plan, and can order Kosher meals for students upon request. We are working on expanding the Kosher dining options.
Q: How can I get involved in Hillel?
A: We host weekly Shabbat dinners, which everyone on campus is invited to attend. Additionally, you can speak with members of the Hillel E-board and Rabbi Bruce to learn more about other programming we have and more ways to get involved in the community.
Q: What is Shabbat like at Amherst?
A: Each week, we host a Shabbat dinner with food from local restaurants. We begin the meal by saying blessings on grape juice, candles and in a unique Amherst tradition, we all join together to say the hamotzi.
Q: What are other holiday observances and celebrations like at Amherst?
A: We host high holiday services for Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur, and build a Sukkah on the First-Year Quad. We also have a special Chanukah celebration. For Purim, we host an annual Latke vs. Hamentaschen debate, with Amherst College professors making arguments on both sides. On Passover, we host two seders and have Kosher for Passover food set up in Val (the dining hall). If you have any questions specific to any holiday, email Rabbi Bruce or one of the E-Board members.
Q: Can prospective students visit Amherst and stay overnight with a Jewish student?
A: Prospective students wishing to spend a night at Amherst and attend some of Hillel's programs can email Rabbi Bruce to make arrangements.
Q: Is there a rabbi on campus?
Q: What is the policy regarding religious holidays and missing classes?
A: The Student Handbook includes a “Policy on Observance of Religious Holidays” that says the following: "Amherst College respects the rights of all members of the community to observe religious holidays. It is expected that everyone will cooperate in making this right a real one. Students and faculty, in particular, should seek ways of achieving this goal, while at the same time minimizing interruptions of the academic work of the College." More information can be found on the Religious and Spiritual Life page. Students should contact Rabbi Bruce with any issues.
Q: Does Hillel have a facebook page?
A: Yes. https://www.facebook.com/Amherst-College-Hillel-17453463817/ Please like it.