Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the largest of the university’s five campuses with a population of over 36,100 undergrad students. The huge New Brunswick Campus is divided into five smaller residential campuses and many students take classes at several of these residential campuses each semester. Rutgers-New Brunswick, a campus with a strong religious campus community, is home to over 5,000 Jewish undergraduate students; there are 250-500 students from Modern or Centrist Orthodox day schools and 110-130 students attended an Orthodox gap year program in Israel. Students who wish to live in walking distance of Hillel and Chabad need to request to live on the College Avenue campus. Chabad also has its own residence halls for both men and women for guaranteed College Avenue housing. Additionally, many Orthodox students live in off-campus houses and apartments. Classes meet during Jewish holidays and the university is very accommodating to the practices and needs of religious students.
The Rutgers Hillel has a beautiful, new building, where the OU-JLIC couple on staff works closely with Mesorah, the Hillel Orthodox student group, to provide an array of programming and amenities: minyanim, countless shiurim, social events, community service activities, and more. Examples of programs include “chulympics” – chulent competition, a freshman brunch, and the Rutgers Film Festival screening. Students have many opportunities to learn Torah over the course of the week. There are multiple chaburot on topics including Chassidut, The History of Modern Orthodoxy in America, and Contemporary Topics in Halachah. On Thursday night there is mishmar with a guest speaker and chulent. Twice a month a Women’s shiur takes place at the home of a group of female students. The OU-JLIC Torah Educators also learn with students in chevrutot.
The Shabbat environment at Rutgers is dynamic and spiritually uplifting. Both Hillel and Chabad provide Friday night services and free Friday night dinners. Hillel’s Orthodox Friday night minyan has 65-90 students and an average Shabbat dinner at Hillel attracts 300-400 students. Once a month there is a Friday night oneg at the house of the OU-JLIC educators. On Shabbat morning, 70-85 students attend Shacharit at Hillel. There are also Shabbat services at Chabad. Students either each lunch at Chabad, at the student run shabbat lunch at Hillel, or in their dorms and apartments. The OU-JLIC educators also host a small group of students for Shabbat meals each week. OU-JLIC has a weekly Shabbat parshah shiur and a shiur on the thoughts of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook. On Shabbat afternoon, students hang out on campus, in each other’s dorms, or at the park. Hillel sponsors a seudah shelishit, followed by Maariv and Havdalah.
Meet The Educators