Get Involved

How can you "do" Jewish at Harvard Hillel?

Kayaking on the Charles RiverHarvard 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.

 

 

 

Passover in the Houses

Ways to Get Involved!

Arts and Culture

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: Robin Greene '24

 
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: Sabrina Goldfischer '23 and Rachel Harris '24

 

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.

Spiritual Life

CLERGY AND MINYANIM (PRAYER GROUPS)

 

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 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 Davis getzel@hillel.harvard.edu
You can learn more about Rabbi Getzel here.

 

Israel

BIRTHRIGHT & BEYOND

Join your Jewish classmates for the trip of a lifetime! This two-week trip to Israel in which students explore their Jewish identities, commitments, and communities is composed of a classic seven-day Birthright trip and Harvard Hillel's unique seven-day extension program, Beyond (formerly known as Trekstension).

Next trip: May 15–29, 2022
Registration deadline: March 1, 2022

Visit this page for more detailed information about eligibility, registration, and an example itinerary. Contact Mikhael Kesher, Director of Israel Programs, with any questions.

KOL YISRAEL: ETHNIC MINORITIES
with Mikhael | Wednesdays 2/16 - 4/6, 7:30-9 PM in Smith Hall (Hillel building)

Kol Yisrael is a seven-session learning cohort that will explore multiple narratives of ethnic miorities in Israel. If you sign up you will get free food at each session, a $150 stipend, and get to ask big questions about identity, belonging, and Zionizm! Register here

ISRAEL BOOK CLUB: SHORT STORIES BY ETGAR KERET
with Mikhael 

Participants will be provided with a free copy of acclaimed Israeli author Etgar Keret's book to read at their leisure, then meet as a group three times throughout the semester to share and reflect. Mr. Keret will join a final conversation (in person!) to talk and answer questions.

ISRAEL LUNCH BREAKS
with Mikhael | Thursdays 2/17 and 2/24, 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. in the Hillel Library

Looking to get a taste of Israel during your lunch break? A different topic of conversation relating to Israeli culture will be served each week along with Veggie Crust pizza! Come to one or all sessions.

Jewish Learning

SPRING JEWISH LEARNING FELLOWSHIP
With Rabbi Jenn and Jaime | Thursdays 5:30-7 PM starting 2/17

JLF is an eight-week experiential, conversational seminar for those looking to deepen their understanding of and connection to Judaism on their own terms. We make no claims about the "right" way to practice Judaism or "do Jewish." Our job is to help you explore Jewish texts and traditions and find your own place in Judaism's Great Conversation. In addition to great learning and deep, meaningful conversations, we want to nourish you - (kosher) dinner and snacks are part of the JLF experience - and value your time: after completion of the program you will receive a $200 Amazon gift certificate. Sign up for JLF 1.0 with Rabbi Jenn if you've never done JLF before and are interested, or for JLF 2.0 with Jaime if you've done JLF already and want to do it again!

MEANINGFUL MONDAYS
Mondays 1 PM

Join the weekly conversation on living a meaningful life. Take-away food from Clover will be provided. Drop-ins welcome; come to one session or all!

 

TALMUDIC STORIES
Wednesdays 6-7 PM in the Hillel Library

 

The Talmud is the central text in traditional Jewish scholarship. in over 5,000 pages it covers a vast array of topics, from holidays and Shabbat to the procedures in the ancient temple; the court system to Kosher laws. In this seminar-style class, we will examine one or two stories each week, conducting a literary analysis and unpacking the profound and nuanced lessons the Talmud has to offer.

 

This is an introductory class. All texts will be in English translation and no prior knowledge is expected, though the class will still be interesting to those with prior Talmud experience.

 

WEEKLY PARSHA CLASS WITH JAIME AND SPENCER

Fridays 10 AM in the Hillel Library

 

Join Harvard Hillel Assistant Director Jaime Drucker and Spencer Glassman '23  each week to learn about the week's parsha (Torah portion).

 

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.

Tikkun Olam (Community Service)

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

HARVARD SQUARE HOMELESS SHELTER
Tuesdays, 9-11:15 PM | 66 Winthrop St.

Every Tuesday night, Hillel sends 3-5 volunteers to help out with the evening shift of the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.  Volunteering at the shelter is a great way to directly see the impact that your actions are making while also having fun! You can sign up for a Tuesday evening shift with Hillel here.

CHALLAH FOR CHARITY
Thursdays, various times | Rabb Hall, Hillel building

Every Thursday, a group of Hillel students take part in the age-old tradition of baking challah before Shabbat! Typically, the dough is made at 10:00 AM, braided at 3:30 PM, and sold at 5:00 PM, all taking place in the Hillel building. All proceeds from selling this delicious Challah go to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. An extra bonus - all volunteers get to take home a free challah!

HEBREW SENIOR LIFE

Hillel regularly sends a group of students to visit Hebrew Senior Life, a Jewish senior living community in the Boston area. In the past, students have gone to do art projects with the seniors, put on musical performances, participate in Jewish learning together, or just hang out! More details about specific dates of visits to come.

TIKKUN OLAM LEARNING SERIES
Mondays 2/7 - 3/28, 6 PM | Hillel dining hall

Join us for dinner at the Hillel dining hall to hear one or our amazing classmates teach about a Tikkun Olam-related topic that is close to their heart through a Jewish lens and engage in meaningful conversations with one another about these issues. Feel free to drop in to whichever sessions sound interesting to you!

  • 2/7: What is Tikkun Olam - Talia Levitt
  • 2/14: Elder Care - Ben Fisher
  • 2/21: Criminal Justice - Ezra Feder
  • 2/28: Environmentalism - Jeremy Ornstein
  • 3/7: Homelessness - Matt Jelen
  • 3/21: Gender Equality and the ERA - Lauren Perl
  • 3/28: Disability Justice - Rachel Auslander

Tikkun Olam