Religious Life on Campus
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life has been appointed by the College to provide leadership, services and programming in matters of religious and spiritual concerns. Or staff includes advisors and practitioners from specific traditions and we work with others on campus and in the local community to provide resources for all religious traditions and spiritual practices represented at Skidmore.
We collectively are committed to ensuring lively, thoughtful and supportive contexts for Skidmore students, faculty and staff who wish to pursue spiritual interests. We recognize that a spiritual/religious journey can be an important, balancing complement to the numerous challenges one faces in the pursuit of academic and career goals.
While each one of us participates in and leads worship and study in her/his own religious traditions, our primary objective as a staff is to collaborate as a multi-faith team and work with all constituents of this dynamic community. Our aim is to promote enriching dialogue, meaningful ritual, and enduring friendships among people of all religious backgrounds, including those who claim no specific religious identity or tradition.
The staff is available to Skidmore students, staff and faculty members for spiritual
counseling and pastoral care, in times of grief, crisis, or introspection, as well
as in times of celebration and joy. In addition to spiritual counseling, they can
provide resources for religious ceremonies and rituals, prayer and meditation, and/or
referrals to clergy and leaders of other faith traditions and other counseling resources.
Jewish life on the Skidmore campus surpasses that of many small liberal arts colleges
of similar size. Approximately 20% of the Skidmore student population is Jewish and
Skidmore Hillel is an active campus organization, hosting Shabbat dinners in Skidmore’s
Intercultural Center every Friday evening, in addition to weekly club meetings and
a variety of social, cultural and holiday programs. Student-led worship is offered
immediately before the Shabbat dinners on Friday nights in the Intercultural Center.
Jewish students, faculty and staff are served by a the Coordinator of Jewish Student
Life who is part of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. The ORSL maintains
partnerships with local rabbis for the observance of holidays and exploring all aspects
of Jewish life. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Skidmore Hillel work
together to coordinate an array of events and activities: lectures, discussions, holiday
observances. High Holiday services, conducted by Rabbi Motzkin of Temple Sinai in
Saratoga Springs, are held on campus. When Yom Kippur falls on a class day classes
are canceled unless it is logicistically impossible to cancel classes and include
the required amount of teaching hours in the semester.
The Jewish students at Skidmore come from a variety of different backgrounds, from unaffiliated to traditional. While most come from Reform, Reconstructionist, or Conservative backgrounds, there are some who have been raised in more observant households. Skidmore does not offer a kosher meal plan and there is no kosher kitchen on campus. However, our award wining chefs prepare a variety of options including vegetarian and vegan food for every meal in the Dining Hall. Shabbat Dinners are catered "kosher style" (with no pork, and either a meat or dairy meal along with a vegetarian option). During Passover the Dining Hall meal selections take into account dietary restrictions and adjust menus accordingly.
There are three synagogues in Saratoga Springs:
• Temple Sinai (Reform)
• Shaara Tfille (Conservative)
• Saratoga Chabad (a Lubavitcher Chasidic organization)
The local Jewish community welcomes the involvement and participation of Skidmore students, and many students have found part-time employment as religious school teachers and youth group advisors at Temple Sinai and Shaara Tfille.
Roman Catholic Life
Skidmore’s Catholic students connect through participation with the Newman Club and through participation in the local Catholic community, usually either at St. Clement’s or St. Peter’s Parishes. The Newman Club is a student-run club that plans social, religious and community minded events for its members as well as the entire Skidmore College community. Past Newman Club events have included seasonal retreats, days of reflection, dinners, discussions, and service projects. The Newman Club and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life work to offer opportunities for personal spiritual growth, encourage participation in the celebration of the Eucharist and other sacraments, strive to raise consciousness on social issues, and promote hands-on involvement in community service.
• The Church of St. Peter, 241 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
• St. Clement’s Church, 231 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs
• Diocese of Albany
Christians at Skidmore often find welcoming communities through the Christian Fellowship and/or Newman Club. The ORSL also hosts event including regular Christian prayer gatherings, an Ash Wednesay service, a Christian Life dinner, and special events. Many Christian students choose to attend services in town and carpools are often available. Students looking for other or additional types of Christan life on or off campus should contact Parker Diggory, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life (firstname.lastname@example.org, ext 8340). (top)
More Religious and Spiritual Engagement on Campus
Students from a wide range of traditions find a variety of ways of connecting, sometimes informally, to each other and observing religious and spiritual practices that are important to them. Muslim students have come together for Friday prayers in Wilson Chapel and arranged for individual or small group salat in residential and other spaces on campus. Student organizations with cultural interests organize educational events that raise awareness of different faiths and practices and occasionally host observances of religious occasions. Meditation groups meet in the chapel and include specific Buddhist traditions and other contemplative practices. Through the skidMORE MINDFULness initiative, the ORSL organizes and leads wellness and yoga gatherings that include attention to matters of mindfulness, spirit, and being. Students looking to connect with any of these groups or to start a gathering of their own can contact the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.