Jewish life at Brandeis is vibrant and diverse, supporting students interested in prayer, Jewish study, cultural and social events, Israel, and more. Hillel
is the umbrella for much of 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 its sub-communities is by attending a weekly Shabbat dinner, which occurs every Friday night of the school year in Upper Sherman.
A diverse array of Jewish denominations are represented on campus, and these groups come together for prayer and holiday celebrations, as well as for social events and with the broader community. 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. Hillel activities are open to all students. The following list includes the practicing Jewish denominational groups and their weekly worship information:
BOO serves the Orthodox Jewish community at Brandeis. It meets for daily and weekly prayer services, which take place with a mechitza, or partition/dividing wall, between men and women’s prayer sections. BOO also hosts a wide array of social and educational events throughout the year.
BOO Shabbat services are held in the International Lounge, and daily prayer services in Berlin Chapel.
Masorti is the Conservative Jewish organization on the Brandeis campus. Masorti services are traditional-egalitarian, with people of all genders fully participating in ritual and prayer leadership, while following a traditional liturgy.
Masorti meets for weekly Shabbat services, including alternating Havdallah (Saturday night) services with BaRuCh, as well as monthly weekday morning services. It also hosts a wide array of social and educational events throughout the school year.
Masorti Shabbat services are held in the Berlin Chapel.
BaRuCh serves the reform Jewish community on the Brandeis campus. BaRuCh services are egalitarian and based on a Reform service, with all genders fully participating in ritual and prayer leadership, using a Reform liturgy in Hebrew and English, and often incorporating musical accompaniment.
BaRuCh meets for weekly Shabbat services, including alternating Havdallah (Saturday night) services with Masorti. BaRuCh holds a number of social and educational events throughout the school year.
BaRuCh Shabbat services are often held in the Multipurpose Room of the Shapiro Campus Center.
BRO is the community for Reconstructionist Jews at Brandeis. It welcomes students were raised in Reconstructionist communities, and those who are interested in learning more about the movement. Based in the United States, the Reconstructionist movement focuses on Judaism not just as a religion but as a culture and practice of Tikkun olam, community service. BRO services are highly musical, often using multiple instruments and styles of music, and include Hebrew and English text.
BRO holds Shabbat services on Friday nights, once every two weeks in Upper Sherman and sometimes outside, weather permitting.
Shira Chadasha is “an Orthodox community/minyan that maximizes women involvement under halachic parameters,” which means that services take place with a mechitza, women take on certain prayer and ritual leadership roles, and there is a requirement of at least 10 men AND 10 women for services, which follow a traditional liturgy.
Shira Chadasha holds Shabbat services on a monthly basis in the Mandel Atrium, as well as weekday services on occasion throughout the school year.
In addition to weekly services, Hillel hosts services for the High Holy Days, including Conservative, Orthodox and Reform services, as well as meals and additional opportunities for Jewish learning during this time of year. Services are led collaboratively by rabbis and students, and are attended by students, faculty, staff, and local community members. For some, High Holiday services and meals are their main connection to Jewish ritual practice; all levels of observance are welcome.