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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How many Jewish students are at Lehigh?

There are around 800 undergraduate students at Lehigh, comprising approximately twenty percent of the undergraduate population.

Is there a building for Jewish life at Lehigh? Where is the Jewish Student Center it located?

The Jewish Student Center is located at 216 Summit Street. The building is directly across Brodhead Street from the Alumni Memorial Building, which houses the Lehigh Admissions Office. The JSC has snacks, study spaces and a flat screen TV and is accessible between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. to any Lehigh undergraduate by swiping their ID card. Graduate students may also request regular access by emailing Steve Nathan at spn217@lehigh.edu.

Are there hours for visitors and prospective students?

The Jewish Student Center has regular hours from 9:00 - 5:00 on weekdays (office is closed for lunch from 12-1, but the director may well be in) during the academic year, but we encourage you to make an appointment so we can set you up with a student guide.  If you are visiting campus and would like to schedule time to visit please call the office (610-758-4896) to make an appointment.  We will do our best to work with your visit schedule.

Does Lehigh have Shabbat services and meals?

The Jewish Student Center hosts Shabbat services and dinner every Friday night. Services begin at 6:00 and dinner at 6:30.  Shabbat usualy draws between 30 to 50 students. For students seeking options for services Saturday morning, arrangements can be made to attend local synagogues.

Is there a kosher food option available? Is the Jewish Student Center kosher?

Lehigh does not have a formal kosher meal plan, however there are a wide variety of dairy and vegetarian options available in the dining halls for people who eat dairy/vegetarian outside of home.  While it is not directly linked to Lehigh’s meal plan, the Jewish Student Center kitchen is kosher and available to students for making their own kosher meals, with prepared dinners every Friday night (and leftovers usually available through the early days of the following week).  In the past, students could also request to live in the Kosher Living Live Lehigh community.  Currently, there was not enough interest expressed in order for this commuity to exist.  However, if there are enough students who observe kashrut in the future the community can be revived.

What are some of the components of Jewish life at Lehigh?

There are several Lehigh-recognized student-run Jewish groups at Lehigh: the Lehigh University Hillel Society, Challah for Hunger, Friends of IsraelChabad Club and Tamid: Israel Investment Club.  In addition, a wide variety of academic classes and Jewish programs are coordinated through the Berman Center for Jewish Students, and Rabbi Steve Nathan serves as the University’s Director of Jewish Student Life and Associate Chaplain.

What services does Lehigh offer for major Jewish holidays?

During the High Holidays, Lehigh Hillel sponsors a Rosh Hashanah evening service and dinner and a post-Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast, as well as religious services for the first day of Rosh Hashanah and for Yom Kippur.  We build a sukkah at the Jewish Student Center and on campus. Services for Simchat Torah are usually arranged at the local synagoge or Muhlenberg College.  We host social events for Chanukah, Tu B'shevat and Purim.  Hillel also sponsors seders for the first two nights of Passover and ensures that students have kosher for Passover food for the length of the holiday available at both the Jewish Student Center and in the dining halls.  For other holidays, we are happy to connect students with the local Jewish community to enable them to attend services in the Lehigh Valley, or to help them put together a program or services on campus.

What can I do if I'm going to be absent from class or an activity for a religious holiday?

If you're planning on missing class for religious reasons, Lehigh's religious accommodation policy entitles you a religious accommodation, which required to make up any work you miss.  The best thing to do is to let your professors know AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in the semester when you'll be out of class.  If the professor or graduate assistant does not with so accomadate with a request, please contact Rabbi Nathan.

Here's a sample message you can cut and paste into an email:

Dear Professor____,

I am a student in your____ class, which meets on ___ at___ a.m./p.m.  For religious reasons, I will be absent from class on _______.  Please let me know what I should do to make up any work I will miss or if you have any questions.  

Thank you,

What are some of the other programs that Lehigh Hillel offers?

The best programs are the ones that students develop and lead themselves throughout the year.  Some examples of what we have done in the past are laser tag with our rival Lafayette Hillel, road trips to the Philadelphia Jewish Relief Agency to help pack food boxes for hungry families, Multi-faith Shabbat dinner discussion with the Muslim, Christian, Hindu and other religious groups on campus, and of course our weekly Shabbat dinners that often have lively themes.

How many members does Hillel at Lehigh have?None! Everyone at Lehigh is welcome to participate in any of the programs we offer, regardless of their background.  We are open to everyone, and there is no need to "join."

Is there a Jewish studies program on campus?

The Berman Center for Jewish Studies is the academic center for Jewish life at Lehigh. It offers over 25 courses in Jewish studies (between five to seven courses each semester), including four semesters of Hebrew, as well as a Jewish studies minor. The Center also sponsors lectures, films, seminars, exhibits, and conferences open to the public.   Learn more about the Berman Center for Jewish Studies by clicking here

Who are the professional Jewish staff members on campus?

Rabbi Steve Nathan serves as Director of Jewish Student Life, and as the university’s Associate Chaplain.  There is also a full-time office adminstrator and a number of involved and committed faculty members. In addition, students are hired to serve as Peer Engagement Interns whose job is to reach out to fellow Jewish students on campus.

What can I do if I have a question about Jewish Student Life?

Please contact the Jewish Student Center at inhil@lehigh.edu or 610-758-4896. Rabbi Nathan can be reached at spn217@lehigh.edu or 610-758-4875.

Who/what funds Hillel/Jewish Life? How can I make a contribution?

Hillel and Jewish life on campus are funded solely by personal donations, grants and endowments. No money for programming is provided by the University.  Any contribution you would like to make would be greatly appreciated.  You may go online to mylehigh.lehigh.edu/hillelcampaign or send a check made out to "Lehigh Hillel" to Lehigh Jewish Student Center, 216 Summit St. Bethlehem, PA 18015.  Thanks in advance for your help and support.

Lehigh Valley Synagogues

Orthodox

Congregation Sons of Israel 
2715 Tilghman Street, Allentown 
(610)-433-6089 
www.sonsofisrael.net 
Rabbi David Wilensky
Congregation Beth Avraham 
439 S. Nulton Avenue, Palmer Twp. 
(610)-905-2166 alt. (610)-438-2314 
www.bethavraham.org 
Rabbi Isaac Yagod
Conservative
Congregation Brith Sholom 
1190 West Macada Road, Bethlehem 
(610)-866-8009 
www.brithsholom.net/home.html 
Rabbi Michael Singer
Temple Beth El 
1305 Springhouse Road, Allentown 
(610)-435-3521 
www.bethelallentown.org 
Rabbi Moshe Re'em
Bnai Abraham 
1545 Bushkill Street, Easton 
(610)-258-5343 
www.bnaiabraham.org 
Rabbi Daniel Stein

Reform

Temple Covenant of Peace 
1451 Northampton Street, Easton 
(610)-253-2031 
www.tcopeace.org 
Rabbi Selwyn Geller
Congregation Kenneth Israel 
2227 W. Chew Street, Allentown 
(610)-435-9074 
www.kiallentown.org 
Rabbi Seth Phillips

Reconstructionist

Congregation Am Haskalah 
currently meets in the building of Brith Sholom in Bethlehem (see above)
www.amhaskalah.org 
Rabbi Malka Bina Klein

Other communal Jewish agencies

The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley 
www.jflv.org
Allentown Jewish Community Center 
www.allentownjcc.org