John Hopkins University has nine academic divisions and campuses and 6,100 undergraduates. There are 500-550 Jewish students on campus. The small but lively Orthodox community is comprised of 35-40 students from Modern or Centrist Orthodox day schools and 20-30 students that attended an Orthodox gap year program in Israel. Because the Orthodox community is small, each student plays an integral part in facilitating Orthodox life on campus. Students are involved in all aspects of community life: planning events, attending and leading services, checking the eruv and choosing the Shabbat menu.
Housing at Hopkins helps to create the vibrancy of a small yet strong community. Students are required to live in the dorms for the first two years, and Hillel is rarely more than a 10-minute walk from anywhere on campus. First-year students can choose to live in a suite-style dorm with a bathroom and kitchenette or in a classic, dorm-style building. JHU Housing accommodates the needs of observant students and gives Shabbat keys when requested. Many upperclassmen live in one or two buildings within a two minute walk from Hillel. Most of these apartment buildings are Shabbat-friendly and the apartments have been handed down through generations of Jewish students. In addition to the housing office, professors are extremely accommodating to students who need to miss class due to religious holidays.
Shabbat at Hopkins is a wonderful experience. There are 25-35 students who attend the Orthodox Friday night services at Hillel. The Hillel hosts a free Shabbat dinner with anywhere between 150-200 students attending weekly. Every Shabbat morning after minyan, there is a delicious lunch at Hillel. On Shabbat afternoons students can be found around Hillel learning, studying, playing games, or just socializing. On most Shabbatot, the OU-JLIC couple hosts a seudah shelishit in their home for 20-25 students.
The OU-JLIC couple runs a variety of social, learning, and holiday programs. They offer students different Torah learning opportunities every night, through chavrutah study and shiurim. The OU-JLIC student Mishnayot chaburah learns two mishnayot every day and has finished many tractates of that way. Programming includes Rosh Chodesh Pancake Breakfasts, a Chopped Cooking Competition, and activities with the local Yachad of Baltimore chapter. The OU-JLIC couple also occasionally hosts students for weekday meals.
Meet The Educators