Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest. Consistent with the diversity of interests, backgrounds, and needs, Shabbat is observed in a variety of ways by students at Brandeis. Every Friday night during the school year, there are at least three, sometimes four, sometimes more, Friday night services to welcome Shabbat. All of the services on campus are organized by students for students and facilitated by students involved in Hillel’s four denominational groups. Some Jews follow the practice of not carrying items on Shabbat. Brandeis also has an Eruv – an established boundary within which Jews who follow this custom to be free to carry on Shabbat. Information about weekly Shabbat and holiday celebrations is available here.
Many students come together for the festive Hillel Shabbat dinner held each Friday night in the Sherman Function Hall. Students on a meal plan can sign up for Shabbat dinner here. Most weeks we have a variety of Shabbat-related activities on Friday night and Saturday including learning with Brandeis faculty and staff, scholars-in-residence, or sessions led by the Jewish Chaplain and /or Hillel staff as well as other opportunities to learn about different Jewish topics.
The Jewish holidays at Brandeis throughout the year are fun, festive, and reflective. There are no classes at Brandeis on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the first and last days of Sukkot. Brandeis spring break coincides with Pesach so there are no classes, services, or meals during the Passover holiday.
For every holiday that falls during the academic year, there are multiple services and celebrations. Based on student interests and needs, each denominational group conducts holiday activities, so feeling at home in an atmosphere similar to a style that you are familiar with is easy. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our services are open to the larger community and we are joined by people from the Boston area who come and share the holiday festivities with students and faculty on campus.