Student Life FAQs
Q: How many Jewish students are there on campus? What is Jewish life like here at Ohio University?
A: There are approximately 600 Jewish students at Ohio University. Jewish students are an active, dynamic part of both Hillel and the campus community. Many opportunities exist for a students to get involved in Jewish life - from cultural arts to Israel advocacy to social justice to religious life. Most of our students come from Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, with smaller percentages from Pittsburgh, Chicago, Maryland, and metro New York.
Q: How connected is Hillel to the University community?
A. Hillel has incredibly positive relationships with The Division of Student Affairs, Residence Life, University Advancement, and The Office of the President. Hillel is deeply integrated into the Ohio University community through its dynamic programs, support for its students, and the involvement of active student leaders in many other campus groups. Ohio University is very supportive of Hillel and its role on campus and works hard to provide a welcoming atmosphere for Jewish students, faculty, and families.
Q: What kind of student programs and organizations does Hillel at OU sponsor on campus?
A: Hillel at OU is home to several independent student organizations reflecting the gamut of Jewish life at OU. Students are encouraged to pursue their ideas and take the initiative, as well as get involved with existing projects and groups. Visit the Student Life link for more information about each group (Jewish Women of Ohio, Bobcats for Israel, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Peer Network Internships, Work Study Opportunities, and more).
Q: What kind of Shabbat celebration is available at Hillel at OU?
A: Every Friday night during the academic year, Hillel at OU hosts services, either at the Hillel building or on campus. Many students become involved in service leading, and Dr. Bree Becker welcomes and encourages student participation in many areas – leading prayers, offering a D’var Torah (sermon) or contributing musically. Hillel hosts Shabbat services in Baker Center, encouraging students from all areas of campus life to experience Shabbat on campus. Several times a semester, we offer a delicious Shabbat dinner to follow services. As always, Shabbat dinner is free for students, thanks to the generous support of alumni, parents, and friends.
Q: Is there a Kosher Meal Plan on Campus?
A: No, but Dining Services and Hillel recently strategized to ensure that there were plenty of "kosher style" meals available in the dining halls. What does this mean? Signage is now placed throughout the dining halls, with a blue Jewish star on the menu to indicate if the prepared foods are pork and shellfish free, and if meat and milk haven't been combined during the preparation and serving of foods. Further, chefs in Dining Services got their challah on! Every Friday evening, fresh baked loaves of challah are available in all the dining halls across campus. We consider this a terrific partnership and a wonderful commitment from our campus friends.
Q: I don’t see many Jewish Studies courses or Hebrew offered in the Ohio University curriculum. What’s the story?
A: In 2007, several staff and faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences, along with former director Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, initiated a Jewish Studies Committee to enhance Jewish Studies offerings at Ohio University. Through a generous two-year Schusterman Postdoctoral Fellowship from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, a Jewish Studies Certificate Program was implemented. The History Department sometimes offers an American Jewish History class, a class on Nazi Germany, several Jewish History classes, and a class on Jewish Humor. The English Department sometimes offers an Israeli Literature class, an American Jewish Literature class, and a Holocaust Literature class. Hebrew classes are not going to be offered in the near future – but we’re working on it as well as how to increase the frequency and diversity of Jewish Studies courses. How can you help? Send an email to Provost Descutner and let him know that you’re interested in Jewish Studies at Ohio University!