Fall 2020 FAQ

Updated September 2, 2020

Note: Thank you for visiting this page. Given Columbia’s recent announcement about students not being able to live on campus, and all classes being held virtually, we are updating our plans for the fall semester. We will update this page as soon we have more information about our plans . Thank you!

Columbia/Barnard Hillel’s work is informed by the following values:

  • Health and Safety: Everything we do is in service of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness of our community. We care about each individual’s health and safety, and create opportunities for connection that elevate wellness.

  • Responsibility and Accountability: As members of the Columbia/Barnard, Morningside Heights, and New York City communities, we are responsible to our broader communities and accountable for the way our actions impact the communities of which are a part. We strive to be good citizens.

  • Celebration: We recognize that celebrations will look different and we will find new and meaningful ways to bring joy and energy to our communal celebrations and observances.

  • Partnership: We operate from a place of trust and joyful partnership between professionals and students. We approach uncertainty with the commitment to work together to make the best possible decisions.

    Click on the questions below to see the corresponding answer:

  • What’s not changing?

    Columbia/Barnard Hillel’s commitment to serving the Jewish community of Columbia/Barnard is unchanged. While policy, procedures, and programming may look different, our core values remain the same.

  • What is the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life?

    The Kraft Center is a 7 story building located at 606 West 115th Street. Open seven days a week, it serves as a resource for Columbia and Barnard students. The building contains lounge space, meeting rooms, large screen televisions, and two outdoor terraces.

  • Will the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life be open in the fall?

    Yes,  the Kraft Center will be open beginning Tuesday, September 8. Students will need to follow all University protocols in order to enter the Kraft Center (receive a negative gateway test, have a green pass, be in good health, etc.) Furniture has been moved to ensure that students can study in the Kraft Center while socially distancing. Masks must be worn at all times.

  • What precautions will be in place to ensure our health and safety in the Kraft Center?

    The Kraft Center is a University building and will be treated the same as any other building on campus. It will be sanitized twice a day, masks will be required, and we are working with an architect to reduce capacity and mark off socially distant work spaces. Only one person will be permitted in the elevator at a time. One staircase will be for going upstairs, and another downstairs. Bathrooms are located on the second, fourth, fifth and sixth floors, and hand sanitizer stations have been installed in the lobby and on every floor.

  • I am not an affiliate of Columbia University. Can I visit the Kraft Center?

    Consistent with University policy, only Columbia University affiliates can visit the Kraft Center at this time. No guests are allowed to visit.

  • Will Cafe Nana, the kosher vegetarian cafe at the Kraft Center, be open in the fall?

    Cafe Nana will not be open in the fall. 

  • Will Columbia/Barnard Hillel offer in person and virtual programming?

    Yes. Our programming will be virtual and in person. We anticipate that most, if not all, of our in person programming will be held outdoors. In addition to in person programming on campus, we will hold regional outdoor gatherings throughout the fall semester.

  • What type of programs are offered through Hillel?

    Hillel’s programs are as diverse as our students. We offer a range of programs throughout the year, focused on religious observance, holiday celebrations, educational fellowships, lectures, and social programs.

  • I’m a new student (or a returning student who hasn’t yet connected with the Jewish community), and I’m concerned about feeling isolated on campus with social distancing in place. How do I connect to Hillel programming and other communal opportunities? How do I know what’s right for me?

    Our professionals and student leaders will help you find your people and your place. If you’re not sure where to start, connect (virtually or in-person) with a professional or student leader by emailing welcome@hillel.columbia.edu, and we’ll help you navigate Jewish life on campus. Our Kraft Center Kickoff series of opportunities is just for first years and new students, and will also help you feel connected.

  • What will daily services look like (non Shabbat, non holiday)?

    Orthodox services are held every day. We anticipate holding in person daily services this year. Students will be asked to reserve a spot for in-person services in advance of the actual service. This will ensure that we have enough space reserved to safely accommodate everyone. We also recommend that you bring a prayer book with you from home. A limited number of prayer books will be available to students to borrow for the semester. 

  • I regularly attend services. Is there anything I should know?

    Students will be asked to reserve a spot for in-person services in advance of the actual service. This will ensure that we have enough space reserved to safely accommodate everyone. We also recommend that you bring a prayer book with you from home. A limited number of prayer books will be available to students to borrow for the semester.

  • Will Shabbat dinners be offered through Hillel?

    Yes. Individually prepared meals will be offered to students. Small groups will be able to eat together, socially distant and outdoors around campus. Meals are certified kosher and, with advance sign up, we will be able to accommodate most dietary needs. Shabbat meals are offered free of charge for enrolled students.

  • What options will be available for Shabbat services?

    Hillel offers Conservative, Orthodox and Reform services every Friday night. The Conservative and Orthodox services meet every Saturday as well. Reform Friday night services will be held online.

  • Shabbat meals are free of charge?

    Yes! Our team works hard to raise the necessary funds to ensure that any student can enjoy Shabbat dinner at no cost to them. Parents, alumni, and students who are interested in supporting this work, can be in touch with Liz Lebeaux, Director of Development, or can donate online.

  • What will the High Holidays look like?

    In a typical year, Hillel offers services, meals, and other creative ways to celebrate the holidays. While this year will look very different, we anticipate that our offerings will be similar. We are working on plans for services – in-person and virtual. Individually packaged meals will be offered throughout the holidays. There will be many ways to celebrate the High Holidays on campus with friends. Our team looks forward to celebrating with students on campus.

  • Can Hillel help direct me to campus support services?

    Yes. Columbia/Barnard Hillel, under its #Here4You initiative, is committed to being responsive to student wellness needs and to ensuring that students have trusted adults to support them. Students can reach out to any Hillel professional with concerns and will be connected with the appropriate campus (or off-campus) resource(s). 

  • I’m not getting any communications from Hillel. How do I get added to a list?

    No problem. Fill out this form and we will quickly get you added to our list. Emails typically go out once a week. First year and transfer students should also fill out this form so we can send you information about Kraft Center Kickoff. We also regularly share updates on Facebook and Instagram (@cbhillel) and encourage you to follow us there.

  • Where can I get kosher food on campus?

    Kosher food is available at restaurants and markets on the Upper West Side. Morton Williams, located at 115th and Broadway, sells pre-packaged kosher meals.

  • Are there places off campus that sell kosher food?

    Yes. Morton Williams, located on the corner of Broadway and 115th Street, sells pre-packaged kosher sandwiches and salads. There are many kosher restaurants on the Upper West Side.

  • I am not going to be on or near campus. What will be available to me?

    Much of what we offer this semester will be virtual, even for students who are on campus, so all students, regardless of where you are, will be welcome to participate. We hope to share information about virtual programs and cohort-based fellowships soon. 

  • What happens if I arrive to campus from one of the quarantine states?

    Consistent with NY State’s policy, you must quarantine for two weeks. You can not visit the Kraft Center or attend a Hillel event or service during your quarantine period.  You can be in touch with our team any time if you need anything.