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. We currently stand within the Christian and Jewish traditions, but it is our responsibility to support all religious traditions 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 university. Our aim is to promote enriching dialogue, meaningful ritual, and enduring friendships among people of all religious backgrounds.
The Office 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 celebration and joy. In addition to spiritual counseling, they can provide
resources for religious ceremonies and rituals, prayer and meditation, and/or referrals
to psychotherapists or clergy of other faith traditions. Skidmore’s chaplains can
also be called upon to officiate or 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 the Jewish Student Union 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 two part-time Jewish professionals: Rabbi Linda Motzkin, Skidmore’s Jewish Chaplain, and Lollie Abramson, the Coordinator of Jewish Student Life and Interfaith Programming. They work with the Jewish Student Union and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to coordinate an array of events and activities: lectures, discussions, holiday observances. High Holiday services, conducted by Rabbi Motzkin, along with Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein (her co-rabbi at 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 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 Campus Ministry is one of presence and service to the college community; the entire student body, faculty and staff. The Catholic campus minister and those affiliated in this ministry strive to witness to the Gospel of Life, Peace, Justice and Compassion by providing spiritual and pastoral support for Catholics at Skidmore. Catholic Campus ministry is also a parish-based service linking college students to the local Catholic community either at St. Clement’s or St. Peter’s Parishes. Catholic campus Ministry also offers opportunities for personal spiritual growth, encourages participation in the celebration of the Eucharist and other sacraments, strives to raise consciousness on social issues, and promotes hands on involvement in community service. Anyone interested in Catholic instruction or wishing to be prepared for reception of the sacrament of Confirmation (or any other sacrament of initiation) should contact the office. The Office of Catholic Student Life also helps plan and takes part in multi-faith and social justice events sponsored by The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.
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 Office of Catholic Student Life can be reached at (518) 580-8385.
• The Church of St. Peter, 241 Broadway/Saratoga Springs
• St. Clement’s Church, 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 or with the Catholic Campus Ministry and Newman Club. Worship services are offered throughout the year in celebration of certain holidays and campus events. Should students want information about churches neighboring Skidmore, they are welcome to contact the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life for advice and a referral.
Brunch and Letters
The academic community is invited to learn more about issues and write letters in support while enjoying good food and stimulating conversation. Many of the issues are from Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Bread for the World. Participants are encouraged to bring information on social justice issues and invite others to write letters of support. There is always a variety of causes to choose from so those attending can decide what they would like to support, thereby reflecting their own personal beliefs. Legislation concerning the poor and hungry of our nation and the world are always a concern and a subject for advocacy.
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.