Community Life and Learning

Precollege students pose together to smile for the camera in Boston

Become part of a dynamic, international community at Genesis!

Shape your experience at Genesis through discussion, debate, Shabbat celebrations, and social action. Learn from and teach one another, exchange new ideas and practices, and form lifelong friendships. Live and work with a team of educators who will guide and inspire you in the challenging work of understanding diversity and creating community.

Relationship building is one of the most rewarding elements of Genesis, whether you are working on a project with new friends, or just spending time together relaxing on campus. The friendships you make here will follow you home.

From the first day you arrive on campus, you will take an active role in shaping and developing our community. Collaboration, discussion and debate are welcomed, and your perspective will be heard and valued. There's a place in our community just for you - and the personality, talent, and spirit you bring - that no one else could.

Creating an Intentional Community

At Genesis we believe that creating intentional community includes learning about the individuals who have come to Genesis, as well as their potential of coming together as a community. We won't simply ‘break the ice.' We will dive in to form relationships, explore our community and the potential we have together, and prepare to expand our horizons over the four weeks. Creating community does not end in the first week, but rather continues as the community grows, develops, lives together, and engages together in Jewish life and celebration, service work beyond our campus community, recreational and social activities, and continued learning.

Explore what it means to be part of a dynamic, diverse Jewish community. Genesis sets aside time to ask questions and deepen your awareness of what "community" is all about, as well as engaging with your peers around different ways each person connects with Judaism. In this way, you can learn more about your own beliefs and practices as you encounter others.

Ask yourself:

  • What does it mean to be a diverse community?

  • Who are we as a community of diverse teens and educators?

  • What is involved in building a community of Jews from different places and perspectives?

  • What is my place in the Genesis community? In the larger Jewish community? In society?

  • How can I take what we discover this summer at Genesis back to our homes?


Everything we do is a mirror of who we are. In expeditions, we will examine our own reflections in action, as we learn, envision and create together. We will focus on the beliefs and commitments of the members of the Genesis community, which will serve as our context for learning about individual identity, all kinds of diversity, and relationships at Genesis and in the wider society. The learning and direction of the expedition will reflect your questions and interests, together with the guidance and preparation of the educators. The expeditions will culminate in the creation of a project based in an authentic real-world experience. These will be shared with others at Genesis and perhaps beyond. Topics and descriptions of the specific expeditions offered this summer will be sent to the participants in June as topics change summer to summer. You will get to choose which expedition appeals to you most. Each participant will experience one expedition.

Watch a video about Genesis Expeditions

Kosher and non-Kosher Dining Experience

Sherman Dining Hall offers both a Kosher and non-Kosher residential dining experience. Students can visit the Kosher serving line for hot entrees, soup, salad, dessert, drinks, cereals, and more, and then take their meal to eat with friends in the community dining space. The Kosher side is supervised closely by a K-V-H mashgiach (Kosher supervisor), along with the Dining Services team who ensure that meat and dairy are prepared in separate, dedicated kitchens, utilizing two completely separate sets of utensils, dishes, stoves, dishwashers, and all other cookware. A dairy breakfast is served daily, and meat and dairy days rotate for lunch and dinner. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Shabbat are meat days (with vegan and vegetarian options available), and Tuesdays and Thursdays are dairy days.

Questions? Contact the team at Sherman Dining Hall.

Genesis is a truly pluralistic environment with participants from all backgrounds taking part in creating a vibrant Jewish community. From deep discussions, to Shabbat celebrations that run from traditional to experimental, you will explore and grow your Judaism while at Genesis. Genesis is supportive of all of the ways in which Shabbat and Kashrut are observed.

In accordance with the principles of Brandeis University, Genesis is a non-sectarian program, with the primary requirement for entry being an eagerness to learn and participate in our community. Genesis welcomes participants from all backgrounds and previous experience with Judaism.