University of Maryland-College Park, a public research university located approximately eight miles from Washington DC, has an enrollment of 28,400 undergraduate students.
There are over 5,000 Jews on the University of Maryland Campus. The Orthodox Jewish community at Maryland is one of the largest collegiate communities in the US. At the University of Maryland there are currently over 500 students who attended Modern or Centrist Orthodox day schools, and 270-330 students who spent a year in an Orthodox gap year program in Israel. Practicing Jews have made their impact on the university at large: residence accommodations are made for Shabbat and holiday observance as are extensions and rescheduling of exams. Maryland Hillel offers a free roommate matching service that pairs Jewish students. Apartments with kosher kitchens are often passed down from student to student. OU-JLIC at Hillel works closely with Kedma, the Orthodox student organization, to ensure that Orthodox life is rich and accessible.
OU-JLIC offers many programs and events for chagim, such as movie nights, BBQs, Chanukah Deep Fried Everything, Challah Baking and the Women’s Rosh Chodesh events. Freshmen are sent welcome packages and invited to special freshmen events like an ice cream social and sushi making. OU-JLIC’s line-up of diverse weekly learning creates learning opportunities for students each day of the week. The week kicks off on Sunday with a Cereal Chaburah following minyan and a morning Starbucks Chaburah. On Mondays there is a BBQ&A, a barbeque and open Q&A with the OU-JLIC Torah Educators, and a Women’s Nesivos Shalom Chaburah. Students enjoy Pizza and Parshah on Tuesdays and chaburot in Chassidut and medical ethics on Wednesdays. A Gemara Iyun Shiur, Rav Kook Chaburah, Mishmar, and Girls’ Cholent and Chill all take place on Thursdays. The learning continues over Shabbat with “Ten Minute Torah” before kiddush on Shabbat, a pre-Mincha parshah shiur, and a chaburah during seudah shelishit.
Shabbat life on campus is dynamic. The Orthodox Minyan on Friday night has 270-330 people and 250-300 students eat Friday night dinner at the Hillel. Many students (225-275) choose to eat Shabbat dinner with friends in their respective suites. There are 160-190 students who daven in the Shabbat morning minyan. After minyan there is a weekly kiddush, followed by lunch at Hillel. Some students eat Shabbat lunch in their suites and off-campus apartments. Additionally, OU-JLIC educators host small groups of students in their homes for Shabbat and yom tov meals. Every Shabbat afternoon many of the Orthodox students congregate on the Quad, one of the large grassy areas on campus. Shabbat ends each week with a beautiful seudah shelishit that includes singing and divrei Torah.
Meet The Educators