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We’re so glad you’re interested in attending Vanderbilt University!
Our Hillel is packed with lots of ways to be involved, starting with our robust first-year students at Hillel (FYSH) programming.
Below are some frequently asked questions about Vanderbilt and Jewish life on campus. You can also get a peek into our Hillel by checking out A Week In the Life Of A Vanderbilt Hillel Student Leader.
Have a question you don’t see here? Please email Lauren Silverman.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Jewish students are on campus?
This is a difficult question to answer since not all students self identify as being Jewish. Right now, the total Jewish population on campus is around 1,000 students, or about 15% of the undergraduate population.
Do you offer Shabbat services and dinner every week?
Every Friday Night we offer both Reform and Conservative services lead by our student leadership. We also have a free kosher meat dinner that is attended by over 100 students each week. We do not require RSVP for either!
What do you have for the Jewish Holidays?
We offer both Conservative and Reform services on campus for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as meals. For Passover, we host a number of student led seders, and work closely with Vanderbilt Campus Dining to provide kosher for Passover meals in the dining halls.
Does Vanderbilt Hillel have activities other than religious services?
Of course! We frequently host social events that range from pizza parties to lazer tag. Our student leadership is composed of nearly 60 members who work throughout the year to help plan events such as bagel brunches, campus discussions, and various holiday celebrations. There are also numerous opportunities for community service, both during our Spring Break Trip and through the year.
What about Israel?
Vanderbilt Hillel has a fantastic Israel advocacy program run through ‘Dores for Israel. DFI sponsors the highly popular Falafel at Midnight events throughout the year, in addition to activites geared towards raising political awareness. We work with The David Projecy and AIPAC to help promote Israel on campus and in the community. Each summer, we sponsor a Birthright trip providing nearly 40 students with the opportunity to spend 10 days in Israel for free!
How is Vanderbilt Hillel funded?
Vanderbilt Hillel is wholly funded through the generosity of our parents, alumni, and the Nashville Jewish community and is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. We do not receive funding from Vanderbilt University.
Do you have a Hillel Building?
The Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life houses Vanderbilt Hillel. The center is located at the corner of Vanderbilt Place and 25th Avenue South.
Is there a place to buy Kosher food on campus?
Yes, all of the campus convenience stores have a variety of Kosher options. Additionally, Grins Cafe, located in the Schulman Center, is a Kosher Vegetarian restaurant on the Vanderbilt Meal Plan (see Vanderbilt Dining for more information).
How many students are members of Hillel?
Hillel doesn’t have members- all Vanderbilt students are welcome to attend our programs and activities. The Schulman Center is one of the main areas students of all stripes congregate on campus, whether they are eating at Grins café, studying, or just relaxing with friends. Approximately 300 students regularly participate in Hillel activities.
How big is the Nashville Jewish Community?
Nashville is home to over 8,000 Jews.
How many synagogues are in Nashville?
There are 2 Reform congregations, 1 Conservative congregation and 1 Orthodox congregation.