The State University of New York at Binghamton enrolls 13,600 undergraduate students. It boasts an extensive Judaic Studies Department and is the only university in the U.S. to offer a minor in Israel Studies. Binghamton is home to 2,500-5,000 Jewish undergraduate students (29% of the student body). Between 250-500 students attended Modern or Centrist Orthodox day schools, and 180-220 attended an Orthodox gap year program in Israel.
The university is committed to accommodating the religious needs of each of its students. The university closes for Rosh Hashanah and on many years the university schedules Spring break so that it coincides with Pesach. If a student misses an exam because of a Jewish holiday, the university will offer a make-up test date. Students will live both on-campus and in off-campus buildings near the university, and the university gives Shabbat keys to students upon request.
OU-JLIC together with the Hillel Orthodox student board provide a variety of programming: exciting learning opportunities, regular minyanim, and large scale social events that engage students across the religious, cultural, and social spectrum. OU-JLIC’s shiurim include home-cooked lunch-and-learns, provided by the OU-JLIC Torah Eucator; Thursday night Torah (TNT) Beit Midrash, including deli roll, cholent, soup and poppers; and Netivot Shalom on the Parsha. In the Spring ‘18 semester two new weekly programs were introduced on campus: Midreshet Yom Rishon, a weekly advanced Talmud class for women, and “What’s Brewin’?”, a weekly discussion group on hot topics with a hot Starbucks coffee. Annually, OU-JLIC hosts the Ezra Schwartz z”l 3×3 Memorial Basketball Tournament.
Shabbat at Binghamton has extensive programming offered by Hillel, OU-JLIC, and Chabad. Every Friday night there is a minyan and dinner at both Hillel and Chabad with 450-550 students partaking in one or both meals. Minyan is hosted by OU-JLIC on Shabbat morning followed by a community kiddush attended by 35-45 students, and a Shabbat lunch at the home of the OU-JLIC educator. Hillel and Chabad offer mincha, seudah shelishit, Maariv,and havdalah which is attended by 90-110 students. OU-JLIC organizes a monthly Friday night dinner at the Orthodox shul in downtown Binghamton for 85-95 students who live in the vicinity. Additionally, there is programming on campus for many of the chagim and festive days on the Jewish calendar. Yom Kippur on campus with OU-JLIC is a highlight of the Fall semester. OU-JLIC and Hillel’s Yom HaAtzmaut celebration on campus is one of the largest campus celebrations in the country, drawing crowds as large as 2,000 with performers like Idan Raichel, 8th Day, and Matisyahu.
Meet The Educators