Welcome Week Information

Welcome to Cal!sweatshirt_3

The students and staff at Berkeley Hillel are so excited you have begun your journey at the best school in the country. There are a lot of fun things happening at Hillel throughout the year, and you’ll quickly get acquainted. Take a look around the rest of our website, our Facebook page and Facebook group too! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter.

Check out a few of the awesome opportunities for new students at Hillel:

Monday, August 14th 
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Welcome Reception and Open House for Students and Families – Meet current students and staff members at a welcome reception for incoming families. Tour the Hillel building, learn about Jewish life at UC Berkeley, and hear about all of the opportunities for new students! (Berkeley Hillel)

Sunday, August 20th & Monday, August 21st 
10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Caltopia – make sure you stop by our Berkeley Hillel Caltopia booth on either Sunday or Monday for a chance to win swag, learn about some of our offerings, and meet staff and students. (RSF, 2301 Bancroft Way)

Monday, August 21st 
5:15 - 7:00 pm 

Hike to the Big C – join us for a hike up to a classic Cal spot! We’ll meet at Hillel and pack some nosh for the hike before heading up to this beautiful spot with stunning views of Berkeley, San Francisco, and the Bay. (Meet at Hillel)

Tuesday, August 22nd 
1:00 - 3:00 pm 

Pizza Picnic on Memorial Glade – kick back, relax, and enjoy some pizza (vegan/gf/kosher options will be provided!). This is a great way to meet other incoming freshmen in a low key, relaxed environment after a busy day of orientation! (Memorial Glade, UC Berkeley Campus)

Wednesday, August 23rd 
2:30 - 6:00 pm 

Volunteering for BBQ – come by Hillel to help set-up and cook for our kickoff BBQ of the year! Enjoy a free kosher meal with vegetarian/vegan options and meet other Cal students.  (Berkeley Hillel)

6:00 - 7:00 pm 

Welcome Back BBQ & Jewzapalooza – come by Hillel for our kickoff BBQ of the year! Enjoy a free kosher meal with vegetarian/vegan options and meet other Cal students. Freshmen are invited to join the Freshmen Fellows for a pre-BBQ meetup. This is a great chance to meet other first-years before the larger crowds arrive! (Berkeley Hillel)

Thursday, August 24th 
10:00 - 12:00 pm

Just For Juniors – come join us on Memorial Glade to get to know the Jewish community at Cal. This is a great opportunity to meet other new students and returning students! (Memorial Glade)

Friday, August 26th
6:00 pm - Candlelighting
7:00 pm - Dinner

Welcome Back Shabbat – finish off the week with a meaningful Shabbat experience. Candle lighting and services begin at 6pm and are followed by a free catered kosher dinner at 7pm. (Berkeley Hillel)

Questions? Please email Molly at mshapiro@berkeleyhillel.org and one of our Freshmen Fellows or awesome staff members will get back to you with the answers you need!

Who has been planning all of this for the new students?

Meet our Freshmen Fellows:

This group of incoming sophomores that have been working all of spring semester to plan Welcome Week events, the Freshmen Retreat (a highlight you don’t want to miss – more info below!), and programming for the entire semester. Freshmen Fellows are part of a year long leadership fellowship at Berkeley Hillel. Not only are you invited to their events; the fellows regularly take new students out for coffee! Feel free to reach out to any of them to meet up at one of their favorite cafes around campus. They are the ultimate resource for all things Berkeley and Hillel.

Check out their bios and contact info by clicking here!


2017 W. J. Colen Freshmen Retreat in the Marin Headlands!

The first year retreat is a long-time favorite of Jewish Cal Students. Hillel takes a group of 60+ students to a beautiful retreat center nearby to get a break from the craziness of school, to meet new friends, and enjoy the amazing nature the Bay Area has to offer. This year our freshmen retreat will be on September 9-10 in the Marin Headlands! Sign up before September 1st and get a HILLEL SWAG BAG!


Some things to look forward to:

  • Camp fire on the beach
  • Hiking trails and amazing star gazing
  • Team building with other Jewish Freshmen
  • Three kosher meals, transportation, and lodging

All for $25.00!

Click here for a Sample Schedule

Click here for a Sample Packing List

Click here for Retreat FAQs


Birthright is an amazing way to travel abroad for FREE, create an instant community of a diverse group of students and start off college with unforgettable experience! Fill out the form below for for more information about coming with us on an incredible 10-day trip!

Sign up for more information!