Frequently Asked Questions

How many Jewish students are there at the Claremont Colleges?

Out of the 8,000 students at the five undergraduate colleges and two graduate universities, we estimate that about 750-1000 students identify themselves as being Jewish.

How many students participate in Hillel activities?

Because we do not have any type of “membership,” this question is more difficult to gauge. Some events engage over 100 students, and some 15 students.

How active is Jewish student life on campus?

There are many organizations, in addition to Hillel, that serve Jewish students on campus. The Jewish Mentor Program (JMP) is a mentor program for Jewish first year students; the Jewish Cultural Life Club (JCLC) works with Hillel to supplement Jewish cultural programs and co-sponsors events like Grove House Shabbat and the annual Field of Flags Holocaust Remembrance program; and Challah for Hunger, with chapters at Scripps College and Pomona College, is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness, through baking and selling challah, for the refugees of the genocide in Darfur. These organizations plus other clubs that evolve from year to year make up Jewish life on campus. The activity of each group varies at each event and the time of the year.

I connect to Judaism culturally and socially, but not religiously. What does Hillel have to offer me?

We have many events that contain no religious content; rather, they are simply events put on by Hillel to provide an environment for Jews to hang out in a Jewish environment. Like all of our events, they are open to everybody!

I love doing social action! Does Hillel offer tzedek programs that will cater to my interests?

Our Tzedek Chair on the Hillel Student Board, along with other students on campus, organizes regular mitzvah project for students at the seven colleges. In the past, we have volunteered at the Bernard Field Station, sang Hannukkah songs with the elderly at the Claremont Manor, packaged 20,250 meals as part of Stop Hunger Now, and walked as a team in Relay for Life. The Board welcomes all suggestions for our Tzedek projects, so it can be catered exactly to your tastes. Additionally, students participate in alternative break programs. Challah for Hunger, an affiliate program of Hillel, bakes and sells challah on a weekly basis to raise money and awareness for humanitarian aid for the refugees in Darfur.

Does Hillel offer religious services? If so, what denomination?

We have services every Friday night at 5:30 pm followed by a home-cooked Shabbat dinner. We also organize Saturday morning services about once a month. Our services vary from traditional to Reconstructionist to Reform and Conservative. If you would like to see a specific type of prayer, don’t hesitate to ask!

I am an observant Jewish student. What does Hillel have to offer me?

Hillel offers a place to jumpstart your Jewish life outside of your home, at college. We have weekly Shabbat services and dinner. While we do not have a strong Orthodox community at the Claremont Colleges, we can put you in touch with students with similar backgrounds who have graduated from the Claremont Colleges so that you can hear first-hand accounts.

I would like to go to Israel. How can I go through Hillel at the Claremont Colleges?

Do not fear! There are many opportunities to learn about and travel to Israel through the Jewish community here! Claremont Hillel sponsored fantastic Birthright Israel trips in May 2010, January 2011, June 2012, June 2013, May 2014 and we hope to do so again in 2015. Birthright is an all-expense paid trip to Israel for 18-26 year old young adults. Students learn about all aspects of Israeli culture and society in this fabulous and eye-opening trip. Watch for registration details for future trips!

Is there a Jewish Studies major at the Claremont Colleges?

Students may major in Jewish Studies through Scripps College or may, with appropriate approval, develop a self-designed major at the other Colleges. Students can choose from an array of courses offered by professors at the Claremont Colleges as well as courses offered at the Claremont Graduate University. For more information about majoring or minoring in Jewish Studies, please look at the course guidebook at your desired college.