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 and devoted 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. We
can also be called upon to assist with life-cycle events such as weddings, funerals,
and celebrations of birth.
Please see more detailed information about Jewish student life here.
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 Lollie Abramson, the Coordinator of Jewish Student Life and Interfaith Programming and partnerships
with local rabbis for the observance of holidays and exploring all aspects of Jewish
life. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Coordinator of Jewish Student
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, along of Temple Sinai in Saratoga Springs are held on campus and, unlike
most similar small colleges, Skidmore does not schedule any classes on Yom Kippur.
The Jewish students at Skidmore come from a variety of different backgrounds, from unaffiliated to traditional. While most come from liberal Jewish homes (Reform, Reconstructionist or Conservative), there are some who have been raised in more observant households. Though Skidmore does not offer a kosher meal plan, the Food Service department includes vegetarian options in the dining halls at every meal, and provides meal selections that take into account the Passover dietary restrictions during the eight days of Passover.
There are four synagogues in Saratoga Springs:
• Temple Sinai (Reform)
• Shaara Tfille (Conservative)
• Beis Masha (Orthodox)
• 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 Catholic 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. Seasonal Retreats and/or Days of Reflection are offered throughout the liturgical year. Periodically a dinner and discussion on a timely issue is held on Sunday evenings. 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
• U.S. Bishops
• Catholic Relief Services
• Daily prayer calendar
• National Catholic Reporter
• Official Vatican Site
• Catholic News Service
Christians at Skidmore often find welcoming communities either through the Christian Fellowship and/or Newman Club. 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). Worship services are offered throughout the year in celebration of certain holidays and campus events. (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. The Coordinator of Spiritual Programs 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.
Lunchtime Discussion Group
Every semester, the Office sponsors lunchtime discussions, open to all Skidmore students,
faculty and staff, on timely topics of religious, moral or spiritual concern. These
discussions provide an opportunity for disparate members of the campus community to
gather together on a regular basis for an informal, open exchange of ideas and viewpoints.
Throughout the year, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life sponsors lectures by prominent academic and religious leaders from a variety of faith perspectives. The purpose of these lectures is to grapple with the spiritual and political issues that face people today within an environment of free expression and intellectual exchange. Following these presentations, there are opportunities to continue the dialogue with our guests.