Get Involved

Online challah baking: who knew?!How can you "do" Jewish at Harvard Hillel?

Harvard Hillel, Harvard's hub of Jewish life, is a pluralistic, non-denominational organization, which means we don't believe there's just one right way to "do" Jewish.

Things may look different right now, but robust Jewish life at Harvard is still here for you to enjoy. Read through our programs and see what appeals to you. Not seeing something you like? Have an idea for a new program? We love that! Email Assistant Director Jaime Drucker, who can help you make your Hillel programming dreams a reality.

Ways to Get Involved!

Arts and Culture

SPORTS
Harvard Jewish Sports Initiative (HJSI) plans events centering around the intersection of Judaism and sports. One such event brought Chaim Bloom, Chief Baseball Officer of the Boston Red Sox, to campus to speak.

Contact: Ben Rabinowitz '21

 

LGBTQ
BAGELS is Harvard's group for bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans, and queer Jews, their friends, and supporters. We sponsor events that foster a BGTLQ Jewish community on campus, and increase awareness about both religion and sexuality. There's no rush to define yourself, or to jump into any activity. We welcome people at all stages of their Jewish and/or Queer journey.

 

Contact: Rebecca Thrope '22

 
JEWISH WOMEN'S GROUP

Jewish Women's Group is an informal discussion group for Jewish women at Harvard. We usually meet around Rosh Hodesh (the start of a new Jewish month) to have themed conversations over crafts and snacks. Past topics (and crafts) have included female friendship (candle making), eating disorders in ultra-Orthodox communities (decorating journals), Jewish feminist political representation (watercolor painting), and more! All undergraduates identifying as women are welcome.


This semester we'll be meeting over Zoom roughly once a month to connect as a community and strengthen our relationships with each other and with our Judaism. Snacks and crafts will be up to you, though I'm happy to give suggestions if you want. (Trader Joe's cheddar rockets and coloring books go well together!) We'll get to know each other and do some group reflection on the New Year and this crazy world we find ourselves in. Be on the lookout for an email over the Hillel list with more information, including the Zoom link. We look forward to meeting you all! :)
 

Contact: Diana Myers '21

 

ONLINE SPEAKER SERIES

Harvard Hillel has been fortunate to be able to share discussions with some of Harvard's and our world's top thinkers and doers with our community including President Larry Bacow, Provost Alan Garber, Supreme Court Justice Breyer, Prof. Jill Lepore, and more.

For information about upcoming events, please join our email list.

Holidays and Spiritual Life

RABBIS, CLERGY, AND MINYANIM

 

The Orthodox Student Minyan (OSM) is a warm and loving group that offers social, religious, and intellectual programming and community for undergraduate students at Harvard.

 

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about observant life on campus.

 

Interested in OSM? Reach out to:
Rabbi Dani Passow dani@hillel.harvard.edu  and/or Clergy Intern Avital Habshush avital@hillel.harvard.edu

Learn more about Rav Dani and Avital here.

 

The Reform Community is the primary hub for progressive Jewish spiritual life on campus. This group is designed to be accessible to all, regardless of Jewish education, prayer, ritual or Hebrew literacy or halakhic (Jewish legal)/conversion status. We hold weekly Shabbat gatherings, High Holidays, Hanukkah, Passover, and other holiday events, regular social and cultural events, and opportunities to explore spirituality and express the Jewish connection to social justice through programs and advocacy opportunities.

 

Interested in the Reform Community? Reach out to:

Rabbi Jenn Queen jenn@hillel.harvard.edu
Learn more about Rabbi Jenn
here.

 

The Student Conservative Minyan (SCM) is a student-run minyan with services that are egalitarian and traditional in nature. We are dedicated to principles of egalitarianism (ensuring people of all genders feel included and supported in all aspects of Jewish ritual) and traditional Jewish observance. Services are conducted mostly in Hebrew, following the Conservative Movement's siddur (prayerbook) Lev Shalem. All genders are encouraged to participate equally. SCM meets for services on Friday nights and often on Shabbat morning and afternoon, as well as holidays. Shabbat and holiday services offer opportunities for spirited davening (praying), with singing and dancing. In addition, SCM organizes learning and social programming for the undergraduate community, including holiday parties, study breaks, and get-togethers. Please be in touch! SCM actively tries to foster student leadership and Jewish learning. We will be glad to help teach those interested in learning to lead services, read Torah, give a D'var Torah (a "word of Torah," or sermon), study Jewish texts, or anything else you want to know!
 

Interested in SCM? Reach out to:
Rabbi Getzel getzel@hillel.harvard.edu
You can learn more about Rabbi Getzel here.

 

Israel

ISRAEL BOOK CLUB: "FLY ALREADY" BY ETGAR KERET
with Mikhael | Meets Mondays, time TBD

Fly Already: Stories is the latest collection of short stories by acclaimed Israeli author and “genius” (NY Times) storyteller Etgar Keret. Participants will receive a free copy of the book and meet five times on Zoom – four times for small group discussions and once more to meet the author, Etgar Keret, and ask him your questions.

HEBREW WINDOW – חלון עברית
with Mikhael | Meets Mondays, time TBD

Looking for a chance to improve your Hebrew with friends? Feeling a bit rusty since your gap year? Want to practice the new vocab you learned in class? Hebrew Window is a casual gathering for anyone who wants some more Hebrew in their life! Sessions will be scheduled according to student availability and facilitated by Israeli freshman Ido Burstein. This class offers two levels, Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced.

Jewish Learning

 

RITUALS THAT SUSTAIN US

with Rabbi Getzel | Mondays 12-1 PM ET


Rituals often mark times of change (think: Shabbat candles, Havdalah, and mikveh), but how are rituals also a force of constancy? Join Rabbi Getzel and Rebecca Thrope ‘21 as we share the rituals that sustain us through times of change. We look forward to welcoming a wide range of voices to our learning community, especially those with little experience in traditional Jewish learning environments, POC, disabled folx, LGBTQ+ folx, and women. Come expecting to engage with an expansive definition of “Torah,” including written, experiential, and musical sources. We hope to build heartful community and welcome you whether you are able to come to one or all of our learning sessions together. It is important that our learning community is as inclusive as possible. Please indicate accessibility needs and any additional questions by emailing rthrope@college.harvard.edu.

 

#JEWISHADULTING

with Rabbi Getzel | Thursdays 7-8 PM ET


Class of 2021! This has been a weird senior year and we at Hillel are here to support and celebrate you. Come join recent graduates, Rabbi Getzel, and new and old friends for our third annual #JewishAdulting series. Each session will feature a recent Harvard graduate who will join us for schmoozing and Q&A about adulting. We also have resources, best practices, and Jewish wisdom on each topic. Seniors (21+) who sign up in advance for the series will receive wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic drink to enjoy together in their rooms for each session. Seniors who attend seven or more of the eight sessions will receive a $100 gift certificate to an online Judaica shop to equip their home. Have questions or ideas? Email Rabbi Getzel: getzel@hillel.harvard.edu.

 

"LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX (& JUDAISM)": TOWARD A POSTMODERN JEWISH ETHIC ON SEXUALITY & INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
with Rabbi Jenn | Tuesdays 7:30-8:30 PM ET

 

Sexuality and intimacy are central to our identities and experiences as human beings, yet we have few opportunities to speak about them in a frank, open, and explicitly Jewish way. In this seminar, we will explore Jewish texts - from traditional to contemporary - on intimacy, gender, sexuality, and the ethics of human relationships and sexuality in Jewish tradition. Prior Jewish learning and/or Hebrew skills are helpful but not required or expected, however thoughtful, active participation is. Active listening, speaking up to contribute and sharing from your own experience while being respectful of and open to the experiences of others are expected of all participants.

 

SCM BOOK CLUB

with Rabbi Getzel | Sundays, time TBD

 

The Student Conservative Minyan (SCM) is continuing our book club this semester, and we would love for new folks to join us. The idea is that we maintain a spirit of connectedness over Shabbat by devoting some time to reading the same book (which we'll send to you!), and then we come together virtually on alternating Sundays to discuss what we've read. The book club was a great success last semester and we are looking forward to another semester of excellent discussions! Everyone is encouraged to join, regardless of class year or minyan affiliation! We'll be heading back in time for our first book, a work of historical fiction called People of the Book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Geraldine Brooks.

 

1:1 LEARNING
Reach out to any Harvard Hillel staff to set up some 1:1 learning on a topic of your choice!

 

Avital avital@hillel.harvard.edu

Jaime jaime@hillel.harvard.edu

Mikhael mikhael@hillel.harvard.edu

Rabbi Jonah jonah@hillel.harvard.edu

Rabbi Dani dani@hillel.harvard.edu

Rabbi Getzel getzel@hillel.harvard.edu

Rabbi Jenn jenn@hillel.harvard.edu

So many great people! How to choose? Check out the videos on our staff page.

Social/Community

JEWISH LEARNING FELLOWSHIP (JLF)
with Rabbi Dani and Jaime

Who am I?
What communities am I a part of?
What is worth committing myself to, and why?

The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) is a 10-week experiential, conversational seminar for first-year undergraduate students looking to deepen their understanding of Judaism on their own terms. We’re interested in asking big questions. You know, the big stuff . And we don’t purport to have any of the big answers...certainly not for anyone else. All participants who attend all of the sessions will receive a $200 Amazon gift certificate.

Our JLF cohorts are already filled up for Spring 2021! 

SHABBAT SQUAD
with Rabbi Jenn 

Get the training and resources you need to host your own Shabbat dinner, socially distanced or on Zoom! Shabbat Squad spreads the joy of Shabbat all over campus and beyond. Contact Rabbi Jenn for more details.

Tikkun Olam (Community Service)

Check out this Tikkun Olam Guide, which outlines in detail all the ways to volunteer with Harvard Hillel.