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Skidmore College
Religious and Spiritual Life

Religious Life on Campus



The information below is accurate but incomplete as of August 2018. Contact the ORSL or check back soon for updates on more communities!

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. Our staff includes advisers ready to work with students of any tradition as well as those who do not identify with a particular spiritual community.  Beyond our own staff 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. 


Spiritual Counseling

The staff is available to Skidmore students, staff and faculty members for spiritual counseling and pastoral care in times of grief, crisis, transition, and introspection, as well as in times of celebration and joy. In addition to spiritual counseling, the ORSL 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

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 services are offered immediately before the Shabbat dinners on Friday nights. Services are normally at Wilson Chapel and dinner is on catered on the second floor of the Murray-Atkins dining hall unless otherwise announced. At different points in the year the gatherings shift to other locations, such as the Sukkah on the main quad during Sukkot, or Fallstaff's when dinners are provided in collaboration with Saratoga Chabad.  Jewish students, faculty and staff are served by a the coordinator of Jewish student life, Martina Zobel, 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 ORSL and Skidmore Hillel work together to coordinate an array of events and activities, including lectures, discussions and holiday observances. High Holiday services, conducted by Rabbi Linda 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 logistically impossible to cancel classes and include the required amount of teaching hours in the semester.

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-winning 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 advisers at Temple Sinai and Shaara Tfille.



Muslim students at Skidmore represent a wide range of traditions and ways of observance as well as a number of cultural backgrounds. In the 2017-2018 academic year students decided to establish an official club to continue the efforts of previous students who had started traditions around Eid celebrations, prayers, community outreach, and social gatherings. The new Skidmore Muslim Students Association (MSA) works with the ORSL and a number of staff and faculty mentors to connect Muslim students, provide support for observances, and to enrich the multifaith life of the wider community. The ORSL and MSA will work closely to provide accommodation (and celebration!) during Ramadan. Wilson Chapel is the most common space used for prayer gatherings and prayer rugs are available on the hallway shelves. There is no specific halal meal plan, but our award-wining chefs work closely with students to provide appropriate menus for special occasions and are careful to label ingredients in dining hall offerings. There are always a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, and non-pork items available. 


Christian Life

Christians at Skidmore often find welcoming communities locally, in informal gatherings, and through the Christian Fellowship and/or Newman Club. The ORSL also hosts events including regular Christian prayer gatherings, an Ash Wednesday service, a Christian life dinner, and special events.  Many Christian students choose to attend services in town, and car pools 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, at, ext 8340.  Staff and Faculty from a variety of Christian traditions, including 


Roman Catholic 

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. Scheduling of Mass on campus is subject to student interest and commitment as well as the availability of local clergy. Roman Catholic faculty and staff are available as informal advisers and connections to local communities. 

Related links:
    •     The Church of St. Peter, 241 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
    •     St. Clement’s Church, 231 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs
    •     Diocese of Albany


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.  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.

Check back for more updates soon!