In this time of transition, Cornell Hillel remains committed to serving Cornell's Jewish students.
Dear Cornell Hillel Family,
There is no doubt that student and campus life at Cornell will be unrecognizable this year. These are challenging times for our students and Cornell families and we want you to know that Cornell Hillel is here for you.
While a lot about the Cornell experience will change this year and we will miss the familiar electricity of student activity that lights up our beautiful campus, Cornell Hillel remains committed to fostering the most vibrant, diverse, inclusive, and high-impact set of opportunities for Jewish student life. Students can still expect robust programmatic offerings from Hillel, as well as the full support and care of our 13-member staff.
Our staff has worked together with Hillel student leaders all summer to plan amazing and enriching opportunities to engage in Jewish life and learning, while prioritizing students' health and safety and abiding by Cornell University’s “Live Smarter” reactivation plan. Rest assured that every Jewish Cornell student, whether they are residing on campus, in Ithaca, or at home will be able to find nourishing friendships, fun, and community through Hillel this year.
Key areas of focus for Fall Semester 2020:
For information on these program areas, see our FAQ below
Helping students find friends and community
Mental health and wellness, including pastoral care
Shabbat and holiday celebrations
Special opportunities for freshmen
Jewish Learning Fellowships and other cohort experiences
World-class online speakers and facilitators
Prayer and spirituality
Deep and nuanced Israel engagement
Subscribe to Hillel’s e-newsletter. Parents will get regular updates this year as the semester progresses. Students receive weekly emails highlighting upcoming events and opportunities.
Cornell University Resources: COVID-19 and Reactivation Planning
Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and healthy start to the new school year.
Rabbi Ari Weiss
Cornell Hillel Executive Director
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Cornell Hillel’s offices in Anabel Taylor Hall be open in the fall?
Cornell University decided to keep Anabel Taylor Hall closed through the Fall Semester. All CURW chaplains and affiliated staff were asked to work remotely through at least the end of December 2020. Although the Hillel office at Anabel Taylor Hall will be closed for the coming semester, our team is always available to talk or meet in person off campus. Our contact information can be found here.
Will Base Ithaca be open in the fall?
Base Ithaca is a project of Cornell Hillel. Base Ithaca Rabbi Hayley Goldstein and Senior Educator Lizzie Sivitz live and program in a private single residence home in the heart of Collegetown. Rabbi Hayley and Lizzie are planning a full semester of programs and are always available to talk with you. Contact Rabbi Hayley.
Will Kosher dining be open in the fall?
Yes. Our friends at Cornell Dining will be operating 104 West! Kosher dining room for lunch and dinner service throughout the semester. 104 West! will offer grab n’ go options and have limited dine-in capacity consistent with Cornell Dining guidelines.
Will there be Shabbat dinners on Friday night this year?
Yes. Hillel will provide a number of options for Shabbat dinner this year. 104 West! will have limited seating capacity for dine-in dinners. They will also be providing grab n’ go options. All 104 West! Shabbat meals will need to be reserved and paid for on this website.
Shabbat Across Cornell
If you’re interested in cooking your own Shabbat dinner for your friends or housemates, Hillel can help cover the costs and provide coaching for how to host and cook a Shabbat meal through our popular Shabbat Across Cornell and “Shabbag” program. The Shabbag comes with everything you need usher in Shabbat, from candles to a kiddush cup. We’d love to help you celebrate! For more information about Shabbat Across Cornell, please reach out to Maggie Burke, and for Shabbags, reach out to Tatiana Uklist.
What will Cornell Hillel’s programmatic offerings look like this year?
Cornell Hillel will work creatively and safely to create a robust and wide variety of ways to connect to Jewish life this year with a special focus on helping students connect with each other and supporting student mental and physical well being. Cornell Hillel’s programmatic offerings will provide the following:
Student Support: Personal check-ins, Shabbat dinners, Big/Little program, care packages, and anything else that makes students feel connected and taken care of. To learn more please reach out to Tatiana Uklist.
Jewish Engagement: Virtual programs that represent the fullest expression of Jewish life created by our Hillel staff, student leaders and student groups.
What types of programs are offered through Hillel?
Hillel’s programs are diverse, welcoming, and designed to reach students from all different backgrounds. Key areas of focus for Cornell Hillel include: Shabbat and Holiday celebrations, mental health and wellness, Jewish learning, deep and nuanced Israel engagement, community service, spirituality and prayer, leadership, and mentoring. For a fuller sense of all the ways to connect with Cornell Hillel, check out the student life page.
How do I connect to Hillel programming? How do I know what’s right for me?
With so much student activity there is something for everyone! Click here to learn more about what’s right for you. For a more personalized experience, email Nikki Michaelson, our Director of Jewish Experiences who will connect you with the right Cornell Hillel professional or student leader to help you find your people and your place.
Where can I find out about events for first-year and transfer students?
An amazing cohort of students have been working all summer to welcome new students to Cornell. Our Hillel Orientation Team has a variety of virtual programming planned, including swag! If you are a new student and want to learn more, please contact our Springboard Innovation Specialist, Maggie Burke.
Will there be Birthright Israel and Alternative Break trips this winter?
Hillel will be recruiting for Birthright in the fall knowing there is a chance the trips may be cancelled. All deposits will be refundable. At this time, we are unsure if the other Alternative Break service trips Hillel normally offers will happen this year. Please contact our IACT Coordinator Tatiana Uklist for more information or with any questions.
This is a lot to handle. Where can I find help navigating the complexities?
We know this coming year will be challenging, and Cornell Hillel is here for students in any way we can be helpful. Cornell Hillel Rabbis and Staff are one click away for emotional support and pastoral care. Additional Cornell mental health resources are available here.
Questions about other aspects of campus life? Contact the appropriate office:
Move-In, Housing, Dining or Storage: email@example.com
Arrival and Surveillance Testing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re-Entry Checklist: email@example.com
Behavioral Compact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Organizations/Activities: email@example.com
New Students/Orientation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitness Centers/Recreation: email@example.com
Financial Aid: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enrollment: Contact the academic advising team at your college
Prayer Services and Shabbat on Campus
Will there be daily prayer services at Cornell Hillel?
Yes. We anticipate having daily Orthodox minyan (prayer services) during the year. Please note there will be a limited number of people allowed for each service. If you have a need to be with us on a specific day, please contact Rabbi Daniel Kasdan.
What options will be available for Shabbat services?
Hillel offers Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform services every Friday night. Orthodox services are held on Shabbat morning as well.
For Orthodox Students: There will be opportunities to sign up for in-person Orthodox services up to 25 people that will take place off campus. All participants will be required to socially distance and wear a mask. To sign up please be in touch with Rabbi Daniel Kasdan.
For Reform and Conservative Students: There will be a mix of in-person and virtual services for Shabbat and Holidays.
For students who don’t fit into a denominational box: Cornell Hillel will offer alternative service options throughout the year.
Holidays on Campus
Will there be High Holiday Services on Campus?
Cornell Hillel is working to develop service options that will be a mix of online services for Reform and Conservative Jews as well as some kind of in person option that will be outside and socially distant for Orthodox students. Our detailed High Holiday offerings can be found here.
Can Cornell faculty, staff, and community members join any of Hillel’s High Holiday Services?
Yes! All are welcome to register and join Hillel’s online Reform and Conservative services that will be conducted on Zoom. Please be in touch with us for more information.
Will there be other ways to celebrate the High Holidays on campus?
Hillel will offer a variety of Jewish learning opportunities, campus giveaways, and holiday meal options for small groups of students to celebrate together.
Will there be Sukkot on campus to eat in this year?
Hopefully. We are working to finalize a plan to make sure there are Sukkot available for students in ways that meet the highest standards for health and safety. Stay tuned for more information.