How Did I Find Hillel at NYU?
Throughout my time at NYU, Jewish life on campus has been integral to my experience. For example, it helped me find community and shape my identity. When I started at NYU in fall 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of my interactions with campus organizations and other new students were virtual. An introduction to NYU Hillel at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life was one of the very first events I attended. I’ve stayed involved with Hillel every semester since. Through attending weekly Zoom Shabbat services and other social events, I built a community during an isolating time and met some of my closest friends. What’s more, my engagement with NYU Hillel has only grown, through religious practice, leadership roles, internships, and other gatherings. Below, I highlight some of the Hillel resources available for students.
How Is Hillel Structured?
The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life
NYU Hillel is located in the Bronfman Center, a converted brownstone on East 10th Street. The building has an assortment of welcoming prayer spaces, student lounges, meeting rooms, and offices. And it is one of my favorite places to study on campus. Whether I need to get some work done, hang out with friends, or meet with one of the staff members, I can always find space at Hillel.
What’s more, there is a full-time staff of rabbis, educators, and other student engagement professionals who offer support to students. They oversee student learning and internship cohorts and plan programming at Hillel. Additionally, the Bronfman Center hosts the Student Executive Board. As vice president of the board, I work with staff and students to create and build a strong foundation for the entire Jewish community at NYU.
Shabbat and Holidays
Friday Evening Services
Every Friday evening, Hillel offers three Shabbat services for students: Kesher, Kehillah, and Shalhevet. I am copresident of Kesher: Reform Jews at NYU. Our service features instruments and is conducted in Hebrew and English! The other services, Kehillah and Shalhevet, offer conservative and orthodox programming. Furthermore, after each Shabbat service ends, everyone gathers together for a lovely group dinner.
Additional religious programming through Hillel includes meals and events for major holidays. Last year, we celebrated Purim with a carnival. I loved dressing up for it!
There are so many additional ways to get involved at NYU Hillel! For example, you can:
- Join clubs, which Hillel students lead. They can be religious, social, affinity-based, social justice–oriented, musical, and more! Hillel hosts several club events each week. And they’re open to all students.
- Participate in learning cohorts like the Jewish Learning Fellowship, Kollel, and Shleimut. They offer weekly opportunities to explore Jewish texts in a supportive environment.
- Intern. Internships at NYU Hillel are a fantastic way to get paid leadership experiences during the semester. For example, I served as a Jewish Learning Fellowship intern and helped teach a class. In addition, I worked as a campus engagement intern. This position allowed me to foster meaningful relationships with other members of the Jewish community. Other internship opportunities exist in areas related to community service, accessibility, Israel, and media.
- Travel and volunteer. For example, through NYU Hillel, you can travel to Israel on Birthright, volunteer away from New York City over spring break through Alternative Breaks, and conduct community service in the local community.
What Do I Love Most About NYU Hillel?
All Are Welcome!
At NYU, there is truly no one way to be Jewish on campus. Therefore, I always feel embraced and included by the communities and people I’ve met through Hillel. Furthermore, the people I’ve met have been so important to finding my community at NYU. NYU Hillel one of my homes on campus. And it can be one of yours too!