Best Colleges for Jewish – 8 Things to Consider when Choosing a School
The idea of moving away from home for the first time fills many college-bound seniors with both excitement and anxiety. For those who have grown up in a close-knit family and community with shared beliefs, culture, and experiences, flying the nest can bring on more of the latter emotion.
When considering post-secondary options, many Jewish teenagers place a high value on the presence of a vibrant Jewish community on campus in an effort to preserve their faith and cultural legacy. Because of this, we frequently get inquiries from people asking us how to identify the best colleges for jewish students.
Important things to note when Selecting a Jewish School
1. How many Jews live in America?
There are some geographical shocks when prospective colleges and universities are sorted by the sheer volume of Jewish students. For instance, public universities in the Midwest, like Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have a higher percentage of Jews than public universities on the east coast, like Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh, or the University of Connecticut.
However, it is noteworthy that each of these aforementioned best colleges for jewish students has one of the top 50 Jewish populations in the country. Rutgers University, NYU, and the University of Central Florida are some other significant universities that can claim to have more than 6,000 Jewish undergraduates.
All eight Ivy League institutions have a sizable Jewish student population in 2022. In actuality, Columbia leads the pack in terms of percentage, with a score of 24%, followed by Brown (19%), Cornell (17%), UPenn (17%), and Yale (13%). In terms of extremely selective non-Ivies, Brandeis (34%), Barnard (32%), Tulane (37%) and Sarah Lawrence (28%), which are all Jewish yeshivas, have the greatest proportions of undergraduate Jewish students.
2. What kinds of Jewish groups are there on campus?
Students looking for institutions with active Jewish communities can look into the amount of Jewish clubs and organizations on campus. Any school’s website should make it simple to find this. For instance, according to the Stanford University website, out of the 650+ campus organizations, more than a dozen are Jewish organizations. These organizations include Jewish Queers, a meet-up for Jewish LGBT students at Stanford, and Challah for Hunger, which bakes and sells bread to support international relief efforts.
The existence of a Hillel organization at your prospective colleges can serve as an early barometer for signs of a strong Jewish presence. More than 550 colleges and universities across the world are home to chapters of Hillel, the biggest Jewish campus organization in the world. The outstanding 3,000 people who make up UPenn Hillel are members. Naturally, Hillel membership will be significantly lower at prestigious liberal arts colleges like Colby, Kenyon, or Middlebury due to a significantly smaller student body (despite strong proportional Jewish representation).
3. Is there a Jewish Studies major available?
Two Big Ten universities, the University of Michigan and Ohio State, are at the top of the list for Jewish students seeking to major in Jewish Studies or at least have a wide variety of elective courses to choose from in this field, each offering over 100 courses. Numerous courses in Hebrew, Yiddish, Jewish Thought and Practice, Jewish History, and Holocaust Studies are available at Ohio State. The Frankel Center for Jewish Studies in Michigan provides unusual academic interests such Jewish mysticism, Jewish music, and Jewish photography.
4. Will there be kosher food available and a place of worship?
In fact, several establishments with smaller Jewish populations have increased their kosher food options as a recruiting strategy. Recently, Lehigh University expanded its kosher options in an effort to draw more Jewish students to the university. On the other hand, some universities with substantial Jewish populations, such as the University of Florida, are commonly mentioned as offering only sporadic kosher meals by dissatisfied students. Ideally, the college you want to attend will provide a full kosher meal plan. This service is offered by the University of Maryland, Boston University, and Washington University in St. Louis.
This may seem obvious, but you should look into the nearby synagogues to make sure that they are:
- Conveniently located near the college and
- Provide a seat for new participants.
Jewish students can attend one of 1,199 partner congregations for free on the High Holy Days thanks to a group called Synagogue Connect.
5. How tolerant is the campus?
Tolerance is challenging to measure or rank. Additionally, it is probably useless to characterize one isolated act of anti-Semitism on a college campus as anything other than an isolated act of hatred.
But it’s crucial to remember that a recent survey found that 57% of Jewish college students saw or experienced anti-Semitism, up from 54% the year before. During 80% of Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 29 think that antisemitism has gotten worse over the past five years. A Google News search for “college” and “anti-Semitism” will turn up a plethora of recent instances at a frightening number of institutions from coast to coast.
Advice for College Selection
If you are wishing to transfer to a new school after knowing the best colleges for jewish students, take use of these advice:
- If upholding a close-knit Jewish community is significant to you, consider the student body demographics of your potential colleges. What percentage of Jewish pupils are there overall? What proportion of pupils identify as Jewish?
- Look at the number of Jewish organizations on campus as well as their membership and geographic reach.
- Investigate a school’s offering of Jewish Studies electives if you’re thinking about majoring, minoring, or just taking a few.
- Make sure you will have access to kosher food and a nearby synagogue.
- Look into the level of tolerance at the potential schools. Ask Jewish students about their experiences by having a conversation with them.
Best Colleges for Jewish
These are the best colleges for Jewish, starting with the public schools:
- Brooklyn College
- Queens University
- Indiana University-Bloomington
- Pennsylvania State University
- Michigan State University
- Arizona State University
- Florida State University
- University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
- University of Florida
- Rutgers University
- University of Central Florida
- University of Maryland
- University of Michigan
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Miami, University of Southern California, Washington University in St. Louis, Tulane University, Syracuse University, Yeshiva University, Boston University, New York University, George Washington University, Northwestern University, Northeastern University, American University, University of Hartford, Brandeis University, Emory University.
Ivy League Schools:
Yale University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and Brown University. Read more about the IVY League Acceptance Rates and All Admission Requirements
FAQs on the Best Colleges for Jewish
What Schools do Jews attend?
As a subset of Hasidic Yeshivas does, Ultra-Orthodox Jews send their kids to yeshivas where the primary emphasis is on Judaic studies. Hasidic boys in elementary and middle school only get 60 to 90 minutes a day, four days a week, of secular instruction on average.
Which university has the largest Jewish student body?
Facts about Jews at American colleges, including the one with the most Jewish enrollment
Of all American universities, University of Florida has the most number of Jewish students.
The most Jewish college that is not a synagogue is Barnard.
Cornell has the most Jews overall, however Yale is the most Jewish Ivy.
Where are Jews mostly found?
Jews are mainly found in North America (44%) and the Middle East/North Africa (41%), according to geography. The remaining Jews worldwide are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa (less than 1%), Asia and the Pacific (between 1% and 2%), Latin America and the Caribbean (between 3% and 10%), and Europe (10%).
How many are the Jews at UCLA?
The goal of Hillel at UCLA is to make the 3,000+ Jewish students feel like a small, friendly, and familiar community.
As a Jew, there are many best colleges for Jewish that you can enroll for, we have given some helpful tips on choosing any of the colleges that prioritize the interest of the Jews but it is advisable you make further researches to know the one that suits you better.
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