Are you a new student at UC Berkeley? Congratulations on getting accepted! Whether you are a first year, second year coming to campus for the first time or a transfer student, we can’t wait to meet you. Please make sure to fill out our new student form so we can welcome you! You can also reach out to one of our awesome engagement fellows with questions.
If you are a returning student, we are excited for another great year together with you! If you are not on our newsletter, please sign up here!
We are working hard on planning for Fall of 2021. While there are many uncertainties, one thing is for sure: we will do our best to bring you the vibrant, warm, and creative Jewish community that Cal is known for!
We hope for a return to in-person gatherings and programming, and we will be following the lead of the university regarding COVID-19 restrictions. We are already being proactive in creating different kinds of events for students with varying comfort levels of gathering.
We are also conducting focus groups of students to better understand your hopes and concerns of next year. If you’d like to be involved in this project, please reach out to our associate director, Lauren, at email@example.com
The first week of the school year is our opportunity to welcome new students to Cal, and welcome back returning students! Stay tuned for a schedule that may include:
- Our Welcome BBQ, where we welcome 300+ students to the building and introduce them to all that Berkeley Hillel has to offer
- Social events specifically geared towards first-years and transfer students (this fall, we hope to include a lot more and include ALL years of students)
- Building tours led by Engagement Fellows
- A hike to the Big C!
- Lots of free food and the best SWAG on campus!
W.J. Colen First Year Retreat
In the fall, we typically welcome the new class of Cal bears to Berkeley Hillel by going on a one-night retreat to the Marin Headlands. It has been a great opportunity for building community and having fun off-campus. We don’t yet know the status of the retreat for 2021, but we plan to offer an in-person opportunity for first years with the same spirit as the retreat.
At Berkeley Hillel, we have a culture of students inviting each other to “coffee conversations,” an opportunity to get to know fellow students one-on-one and build Jewish community. Staff also enjoy getting to know students through coffee conversations! As a new student, expect to hear from us to grab a cup! And don’t worry, coffee can mean any beverage, or even frozen yogurt!
Celebrating the Jewish holidays and appreciating the Jewish rhythm of the year is at the core of what we do at Berkeley Hillel. This fall, we will be developing multiple opportunities for engaging in the High Holidays (September 6-16th). Offerings may include:
- Multiple in-person prayer services, catering to different expressions of observance and led by experienced Rabbis, rabbinical students, and educators
- Delicious holiday meals, whether it’s a festive Rosh Hashana dinner, or a mouth-watering break-the-fast meal after Yom Kippur, we’ve got you covered.
- Stipends available to host your own meals in your dorms, apartments, Greek House, co-op, etc.
- Meaningful programming throughout the week, exploring the themes of the High Holy Days (volunteering, hiking, cooking, Jewish learning, etc.!)
Following the High Holidays, we put up a big sukkah on our deck and in our courtyard to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot (September 20-28th). Programming may include:
- Festive holiday meals under the stars in the sukkah
- Creative student programming, whether it’s an art project in the Sukkah, a student group meeting, an afternoon music jam… the Sukkah is always full!
- Jewish learning around themes of Sukkot, complete with delicious fall-themed Trader Joe’s treats (an annual tradition!)
We love celebrating Shabbat during the school year with students! In the past, we’d welcome 100+ students each week to dine together for a Shabbat dinner. Some students would come early for communal services, and many would meet up with friends at dinner as a way to kick off Shabbat and the weekend.
Our food is cooked by a team of kitchen interns, and let’s just say, it is the best food on campus! This past year during COVID-19, we’ve been giving out Shabbat meals every Friday. We hope to continue this as well as welcome even more students into our building to celebrate together.
Berkeley Hillel offers diverse opportunities for small, cohort-based involvement. This is a great opportunity to build community with a small group of students. Many of these fellowships have been going strong virtually throughout the pandemic, and we hope to bring them back to in-person in the fall. Here are some fellowships that we may offer:
- Schultz Engagement Fellowship
- Jewish Learning Fellowship 1.0
- Jewish Learning Fellowship: Foundations of Judaism
- Jewish Learning Fellowship: Big Israel Questions
- Crafting Consent Fellowship
- Social Justice Fellowship
Student Groups & Leadership
There are many student groups that work closely with Hillel, often meeting in our building and hosting exciting programs and speakers. These student groups recruit members and also offer leadership positions. Here are just a few of the student groups we work with:
- Challah For Hunger
- Bears for Israel
- J Street U
- Jews of Color Collective
- JFEM (Jewish Feminist Group)
We are passionate about student leadership! If there is something that you’d like to create, let us know how we can make it happen!
In the past, Berkeley Hillel has sent students on three different types of trips to Israel. These are all currently on pause, but we hope to be able to take these trips with students again as soon as possible!