Community Service  Leadership Activities  Religious and Spiritual Life  Student Diversity
Religious and Spiritual Life

Jewish Student Life 

Jewish life at Skidmore is supported throught the work of many groups and offices, including the student organziation Skidmore Hillel, the Office of Jewish Student Life (part of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life), and Saratoga Chabad. Below you will find information on many of the activities and observances students can take part in while they are at Skidmore. Our offices are also ready to help students  organize new initiatives and gatherings to meet their religious, spiritual, and/or cultural interests and needs. 

There are weekly student-led Friday evening services for usually held in Wilson Chapel.  A weekly dinner follows in the upstairs of the dining hall with a kosher style meat or dair meal prepared by Dining Services. A vegetarian option is also available. Skidmore is not eqipped with a kosher kitchen. Students who are on a meal plan swipe in; the other students are covered by Skidmore Hillel’s SGA budget. Students may choose to attend services, dinner, or both but should be sure to RSVP to or via Skidmore Hillel if they plan to come to dinner so that we know how much food to arrange.  Students hold Havdalah services a few times a semester. 

Holiday Observances    

Speakers and Programs

The Office of Jewish Student Life, part of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, brings speakers to campus and helps to co-promote programs of Jewish and/or Interfaith Interest that are generated out of other offices on campus.  We work closely with the Office of the Dean of Special Programs on both the Greenberg Middle East Scholars and Perlow programs.  We have worked with the  Honors Forum and academic departments and programs including Government, Religion, Music, and Latin American Studies. In recent years we have brought several speakers, including Professor Stephen Hoffman, Professor Rabbi Michael Cohen, Professor Feryaz Ocakli, Israeli entrepreneur and negotiator Gershon Baskin, and West Bank non-violent activist Ali Abu Awwad. There have also been discussions organized by Skidmore Hillel and JStreetU in collaboration with other campus groups. The Northeastern New York Jewish Federation helps to support many of our programs and we work closely with local Jewish congreagations on projects such as the Jewish Cultural Festival each summer. During the Festival we have hosted programs including 'Bubby's Kitchen', 'Life in a Jar - the Irena Sendler Story', the Mitzvah Project, Letters to Sala, and Cantor Micha'el Esformes. We have had guest speakers on Kabbalah, Judaism and the environment, and eco-Kosher practice.  Other collaborations with local temples and churches have included a screening of the film Paperclips and the theater program Letters to Anne and Martin. Students have especially enjoyed participating in a Bread and Torah workshop wtih Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein and Rabbi Linda Motzkin that introduces them to the traditional practices of challah baking and scribal arts.

Discussion Groups
Student-organized discussion groups have included topics such as Jewish identity and gender, being Jewish in College, and Passover and prison justice. Visiting scholars sometimes join in these discussions and have brought their experiences and expertise to topics including world Jewry, anti-Semitism, and views toward Israel. 

Community Service and Social Justice Projects
Over the pase years we have sponsored several Tikkun Olam programs and co-sponsored projects with other student clubs. In addition to the Holidaypalooza fundraiser mentioned above we have held bone marrow drives through Be the Match, joined in disaster relief efforts with Temple Sinai, and organized drives for food pantries and local shelters. 

Lollie Abramson, the Jewish Student Life Coordinator, works to support student-implemented Jewish-themed programs on campus  both with Skidmore Hillel and with other interested students. She coordinates with the Skidmore Hillel leadership team to support its events and programming.  The Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, Parker Diggory, is also available to advise and support student initiatives.

Spiritual Counsel

The Director of Religious and Spiritual Life is available to students of any tradition to talk about issues of spiritual concern or pastoral care. We also have strong relationships with local Jewish leaders including the Skidmore High Holidays chaplain, Rabbi Linda Motzkin, and we would be happy to help students connect with a leader or advisor from their preferred tradition. Jewish staff and faculty also serve as mentors and informal advisors for Jewish students.