Photo Credit: Thor Anderson
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Jewish students are at Lehigh?
There are between 700 and 750 undergraduate students at Lehigh, comprising approximately twenty percent of the undergraduate population.
Is there a building for Jewish life at Lehigh? Where is the Jewish Student Center it located?
The Jewish Student Center is located at 216 Summit Street. The building is directly across Brodhead Street from the Alumni Memorial Building, which houses the Lehigh Admissions Office. The JSC has snacks, study spaces and a flat screen TV and is accessible between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. to any Lehigh undergraduate by swiping their ID card.
Are there hours for visitors and prospective students?
The Jewish Student Center has regular visiting hours on:
- Mondays- 12pm - 4pm
- Tuesdays- 12am - 4pm
- Wednesdays- 12pm-4pm
- Thursdays- 12pm-3pm
- Fridays- 12pm - 4pm
If you are visiting campus and would like to schedule time to visit please feel free to call (610-758-4896) and make an appointment. We will do our best to work with your visit schedule.
Does Lehigh have Shabbat services and meals?
The Jewish Student Center hosts Shabbat services and dinner on a weekly basis every Friday night. Services and dinner draw up to anywhere from 35 to 60 students. For students seeking options for services Saturday morning, arrangements can be made to attend local synagogues.
Is there a kosher food option available? Is the Jewish Student Center kosher?
While Lehigh does not have a formal kosher meal plan, there are frozen sealed kosher meals available for purchase on the second floor of the University Center. In addition, there are a wide variety of dairy and vegetarian options available in the dining halls for people who eat dairy/vegetarian outside of home. While it is not directly linked to Lehigh’s meal plan, the Jewish Student Center kitchen is kosher and available to students for making their own kosher meals, with prepared dinners every Friday night.
What are some of the components of Jewish life at Lehigh?
There are several Lehigh-recognized student-run Jewish groups at Lehigh: the Lehigh University Hillel Society, Challah for Hunger, Friends of Israel, Lehigh Chabad and the Jewish Cultural Association. There is also an informal Jewish Student Athletes group involved in varsity and club sports, as well as “Hebrews on the Hill,” a group of Jewish students involved in fraternity and sorority life. In addition, a wide variety of academic classes and Jewish programs are coordinated through the Berman Center for Jewish Students, and Rabbi Seth Goren serves as the University’s Director of Jewish Student Life and Associate Chaplain.
What services does Lehigh offer for major Jewish holidays?
During the High Holidays, Lehigh Hillel sponsors a pre-Rosh Hashanah dinner and a post-Yom Kippur break fast, as well as religious services for two days of Rosh Hashanah and for Yom Kippur. In addition to hosting social events for Purim and Chanukah, Hillel also sponsors seders for the first two nights of Passover and ensures that students have kosher for Passover food for the length of the holiday. For other holidays, we are happy to connect students with the local Jewish community to enable them to attend services in the Lehigh Valley, or to help them put together a program or services on campus.
What can I do if I'm going to be absent from class or an activity for a religious holiday?
If you're planning on missing class for religious reasons, Lehigh's religious accommodation policy entitles you a religious accommodation, which required to make up any work you miss. The best thing to do is to let your professors know AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in the semester when you'll be out of class.
Here's a sample message you can cut and paste into an email:
I am a student in your____ class, which meets on ___ at___ a.m./p.m. For religious reasons, I will be absent from class on _______. Please let me know what I should do to make up any work I will miss or if you have any questions.
When are the High Holidays this year?
Rosh Hashanah starts on the evening of Sunday, September 16, and Yom Kippur starts on the evening of Wednesday, September 25.
What are some of the other programs that Lehigh Hillel offers?
Lehigh Hillel Society provides students with a number of Jewish activities, including opportunities for learning and discussion. Weekly Shabbat celebrations, as well as our dine-and-discuss series, are offered throughout the year. Social programs particularly with other Lehigh Valley colleges are very important for a Jewish student’s Lehigh experience. In addition, there is also a strong emphasis on student empowerment and cultivating leadership skills by encouraging self-initiation to develop educational and social programs by helping them s plan programs.
How many members does Hillel at Lehigh have?
None! We have no membership program, and everyone at Lehigh is welcome to participate in any of the programs we offer.
Is there a Jewish studies program on campus?
The Berman Center for Jewish Studies is the academic center for Jewish life at Lehigh. It offers over 25 courses in Jewish studies (between five to seven courses each semester), including four semesters of Hebrew, as well as a Jewish studies minor. The Center also sponsors lectures, films, seminars, exhibits, and conferences open to the public. To learn more about the Berman Center and its programs check out their website at www.lehigh.edu/~inber/inber.html.
Who are the professional Jewish staff members on campus?
Lehigh has a Rabbi and Director of Jewish Student Life, who also serves as the university’s Associate Chaplain. We also have a Jewish Student Life Marketing and Communications Coordinator and a graduate assistant, both of whom work part-time, as well as a number of involved and committed faculty members.