Student Experience

Alumni & Parents

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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Support FAQs

General FAQs

Q: How many Jewish students are there on Tufts campus?
A: There are approximately 1,200 Jewish students at Tufts, about 25% of the undergraduate student population. There are approximately 500 Jewish graduate students.

Q: What kinds of student programs and groups does Tufts Hillel sponsor?
A: Tufts Hillel is a student-run community. Students create, plan, and promote programs that inspire and connect students across campus. Tufts Hillel has fourteen committees with over thirty members that are coordinated by the Student Executive Board. Together with staff, these students plan social, cultural, educational and religious programs, events and holiday celebrations that reach the entire Tufts Community as well as a range of special initiatives.  Many students propose their own programs, with Hillel providing the structure through which to make them happen. If you have an idea for a program or would like to find out about leadership opportunities, please contact Lauren Bloom, Assistant Director. Visit our Student Board & Committees page for more information about how to get involved.

Q: How can I get involved with Tufts Hillel? Are there membership fees?
A: t is very easy to get involved with Tufts Hillel. Any student on campus can participate in our events. There are no membership fees and students are encouraged to attend as many programs and activities as they wish. There are many opportunities to get involved on a short- or long-term basis. You can join us for one of the many events we hold weekly, enjoy Shabbat services and dinner on a Friday night, join a committee to help plan an event, or become a member of the student board.

Q: How do I join a committee?
A: At the beginning of each year, Tufts Hillel hosts an annual General Interest Meeting, where students come to meet Hillel student board members, sign-up for various committees, meet other interested students and find out about much of what Hillel has to offer. Students can also join Hillel committees throughout the year. At the end of the spring semester, Tufts Hillel hosts elections for over twenty student board positions, which span a broad range of cultural, social and religious areas. Many students recognize this great opportunity for leadership and choose to run for the board.

Q: Is there kosher dining on campus?
A: Many students enjoy Pax et Lox, a certified glatt kosher deli located on the lower level of the Campus Center that offers made-to-order sandwiches and other delicious food that can be purchased for take-out Monday through Thursday. Meal Plan holders can use one swipe in the deli followed by another swipe to make one visit to Carmichael or Dewick dining halls during the meal period. In addition, all food served at Tufts Hillel events is kosher. Each Friday night and Saturday afternoon, great kosher meals are prepared in the Granoff Family Hillel Center kitchens, which are under the supervision of student Kashrut Supervisors and Rabbi Jeffrey Summit. Tufts Hillel and Tufts Dining Services are always open to exploring options and accommodating special needs whenever possible.

Q: What is Shabbat like at Tufts?
A: Every week, 100 or more students and Tufts community members join together at the Granoff Family Hillel Center for student-led Reform and Conservative Shabbat services followed by dinner. Student committees often plan special celebrations such as Literacy Shabbat, Pride Shabbat, Farm-to-Table Shabbat, Greek Life Shabbat, and Alumni Shabbat. Tufts Hillel also sponsors Saturday morning Shabbat services followed by a free Kiddush lunch. Some students choose to come to services and meals. Others attend only services or just join their friends for a Shabbat meal. For a schedule of services or to make a reservation for Friday night dinner (by Wednesday at 3:00 PM), please visit our calendar of events.

Q: What are holiday observances and celebrations like at Tufts?
A: Tufts Hillel runs a full program of services and meals for the High Holidays, Passover, and other holidays. During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Reform and Conservative services are held for the Tufts community and tickets are available for dinners and lunches, plus pre-fast and break-the-fast dinners on Yom Kippur. During Passover, Hillel hosts a variety of Seders on the first and second nights, and students may even purchase "Seder Kits to Go" for use in their dorm, off-campus apartment, or fraternity/sorority. Other holidays are celebrated with programs, services, and dinners depending on where they fall during the academic calendar.

Q: Can prospective students visit Tufts and stay overnight with a Jewish student?
A: The best way to gain a sense of the Tufts experience is to visit our scenic campus. The University Office of Admissions can arrange for prospective students to tour the campus, observe classes, and eat in the dining halls. The office can also assist students with overnight stays. Prospective students interested in Shabbat/holiday hospitality should contact Tufts Hillel and visit our calendar of events for Hillel sponsored activities.

Q: Is there a rabbi on campus?
A: Actually there are two rabbis on campus. Rabbi Jeffrey Summit is the Executive Director of Tufts Hillel and the Jewish Chaplain to the University. He is also a research professor in the Music Department and the Department of German, Russian & Asian Languages and Literature, which hosts the Judaic Studies major. Rabbi Jordan Braunig, Director of the Initiative for Innovative Community Building at Tufts Hillel, mentors, teaches and learns from the Community Building fellows. The Jewish Chaplain and Hillel staff serve the Tufts community in times of personal loss and crisis both through pastoral counseling and by integrating people into a supportive community. Rabbi Summit and Rabbi Braunig as well as all Hillel staff are always available to talk to students about spiritual or personal issues and concerns.

Q: What social justice opportunities does Tufts Hillel offer?
A: Tufts Hillel is on the forefront of social justice programming within the Tufts community. Tufts Hillel, in partnership with many university and community organizations, is committed to programs that make social justice and the teaching of Jewish values a core component of Tufts Hillel's mission on campus. Our special initiatives such as Merrin Moral Voices, Cummings/Hillel Holocaust & Genocide Education, Read by the River, Challah for Hunger and Vitality: Health & Wellness are rooted in Jewish tradition. Being engaged with making the world a better place is not only in line with Tufts mission of active citizenship, it also is informed by Judaism’s commitment to engage actively to repair the parts of the world that are broken.

Q: How can I support Tufts Hillel?
A; Tufts Hillel relies on the generous support of its donors to support our on-going programming and special initiatives. Nearly 85% of Hillel's annual operating budget comes from contributions from individuals. Please visit our Support Us page to learn more about giving to Tufts Hillel.

Q: How is Tufts Hillel connected to the University community?
A: Tufts Hillel is a private not-for-profit organization and an affiliate agency of Hillel International. It is the center for Jewish campus life at Tufts. Tufts Hillel is integrated into the University community through its dynamic programs, co-sponsored events, and the involvement of active students in many other on-campus groups. The University is very supportive of Tufts Hillel and its role on campus and works with us to provide a welcoming atmosphere for Jewish students, faculty, and families.

Q: What is Hillel International?
A: As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel International builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path.  Students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives. Tufts Hillel is an independent organization that is an affiliate agency of Hillel International.

Support Us FAQs

Q: What is the Annual Fund?
A: Each year, Tufts Hillel must raise enough private philanthropic support to cover the cost of our programs and initiatives. The Annual Fund goal for the 2017-2018 academic year is $880,000.

Q: How can I give to the Annual Campaign?
A: You may extend your support through an outright gift or pledge your support, payable by June 30.  It is tremendously helpful for our program planning if donors make an outright gift or pledge as early in the academic year as possible. 

Q: When should we make our gift?
A: Tufts Hillel operates on a fiscal year that runs from July 1 through June 30, in sync with the academic calendar.  It helps us with our planning if you let us know your commitment as early in the fiscal year as possible.  Many people choose to give before December 31 to take advantage of the tax deduction. If you cannot give in the fall, please consider making a pledge as early in the fiscal year as possible, payable by June 30.

Q: I can’t give a lot – why is a small gift so important?
A: We understand that the amount that may be given to Tufts Hillel varies widely. We know that many parents, alumni and friends care deeply about Tufts Hillel’s mission. Even small gifts show the breadth of that support.

Q: I want to give anonymously. How is this handled?
A: We respect the wishes of all donors. Please have a confidential conversation with Fran Kantor. Your inquiry will be held in strict confidence.

Q: Do I get credit for giving to Tufts when I support Tufts Hillel?
A: Yes, all gifts to Tufts Hillel count towards Tufts class participation goals. 

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