Jewish Communities

Hillel lounge with table and chairs

Jewish life at Brandeis is vibrant and diverse, supporting students interested in prayer, Jewish study, cultural and social events, Israel, and more. Many of the communities and programs that make up Jewish life on campus are a part of Hillel, an international organization that provides a space for Jewish life on campus with a dedicated staff, an active student board, and many engaged club group leaders and members. One of the easiest ways to get involved with Hillel or any of communities is by attending a weekly Shabbat dinner, which occurs every Friday night of the school year in Upper Sherman.
 
Multiple communities are active within the Jewish community, with each conducting worship services based on their specific denominational traditions, and also coming together for social events and campus-wide holiday celebrations. There are also Jewish students at Brandeis who do not worship or practice within these groups and instead choose to observe their Judaism in a unique, individual manner. All Hillel activities are open to any and every students. The following list includes the practicing Jewish denominational groups and their weekly worship information:
Toggle
Brandeis Orthodox Organization (BOO)

BOO serves the Orthodox Jewish community at Brandeis. BOO exists to “further the religious, social, and cultural needs of the Orthodox Jewish population at Brandeis University and is dedicated to the principles of Torah-Halakhic Judaism.”  BOO meets for weekly shabbat, or sabbath, services every Friday night at sundown (kabbalat shabbat services in the International Lounge in Usdan Student Center. They additionally have services every Saturday morning (shacharit services) and Saturday evenings at sundown (havdalah services), also in International Lounge. BOO prayer services take place with a mechitza, or partition/dividing wall between men and women’s prayer sections. Many Orthodox students also pray several times daily in Berlin Chapel. BOO also exists as a social organization, hosting popular events such as ice skating and the BOO Cruise of Boston Harbor.

Toggle
Masorti

Masorti is the Conservative Jewish organization on the Brandeis campus. Masorti hosts weekly shabbat services in Berlin Chapel on Fridays at sundown (kabbalat shabbat) and Saturdays at 9 a.m. (shacharit) and sundown (havdalah). Every other week, they hold Saturday night (havdalah) services in conjunction with BaRuCh, the reform Jewish organization. Masorti services are traditional-egalitarian, meaning they follow traditional liturgy within their services but also allow equal participation of women and men. To learn more about Masorti, visit their website.

Toggle
Brandeis Reform Chavurah (BaRuCh)

BaRuCh serves the reform Jewish community on the Brandeis campus. BaRuCh services are egalitarian and based on a reform service, meaning music is used, men and women pray and participate together, and there may be some service portions in English. BaRuCh holds weekly services on Friday nights at sundown (kabbalat shabbat) in Pearlman Lounge as well as on Saturday nights at sundown (havdalah). Every other week, they hold Saturday night (havdalah) services in conjunction with BUCO, the conservative organization. Once a month, BaRuCh holds Saturday morning (shacharit) services. BaRuCh holds social and learning events, including community service and educational trips and lectures. To learn more about BaRuCh, visit their website.

Toggle
Brandeis Reconstructionist Organization (BRO)

BRO is the community for reconstructionist Jews at Brandeis. BRO welcomes students who were raised in reconstructionist communities or who are interested in learning more about the movement. The reconstructionist movement is a United States-based movement of Judaism focused on Judaism not just as a religion but also as a culture and practice of community service (tikkun olam). BRO holds Friday night (kabbalat shabbat) services once every two weeks in changing locations, usually in Upper Sherman. BRO services are song-based and are conducted by student songleaders. For more information on BRO and the reconstructionist movement, visit the BRO website.

Toggle
Shira Chadasha

Shira Chadasha is “an Orthodox community/minyan that maximizes women involvement under halachic parameters,” meaning they look to maximize female participation under Jewish law. Shira Chadasha hosts services in different locations on a monthly basis. To learn more, visit the Shira Chadasha Facebook page.

Toggle
Chabad
Chabad seeks to engage fellow Jews at their own pace and comfort level through innovative educational programs in all areas of Jewish life.

In addition to weekly services, the Jewish community at Brandeis also hosts services for the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These holidays are considered the most important in the Jewish calendar. Many Jews who do not worship on a weekly basis will attend services for the High Holy Days. Each year, Orthodox, Conservative/Egalitarian, Reform, and Reform Student-Led High Holy Day services are held in different locations.