University Life


Columbia and Barnard strive to support all religious life on campus. The university policy accommodates religious needs and has systems in place to ensure that students’ religious commitments are upheld. At the same time, being within this diverse institution is an encounter with cultures and demands that broaden the student’s personal experience. This makes for an enriching balance which will tolerate neither discrimination nor entitlement.

As a branch within the Columbia University Office of Religious Life, we at the Kraft Center are here to serve as a resource to students when navigating the demands of university life and their religious needs. With years of experience, let us help be a line of communication, ensuring that your student voice is heard, and to liaise  with the university in addressing your needs. The goal is that every student is treated fairly and that the academic and broader university experience is not compromised.

We have strong bonds with many university departments – from housing , dining, and student life to the registrar, academic deans, and university administrators. We are here to help!


All undergraduate students who live in a Columbia University Resident Hall (not Barnard or JTS residents) and are traditionally Sabbath observant, should register here. This list will be for CU Housing to ensure that your res hall room/floor have Shabbat-friendly accommodations, and to assist in Res Hall access on Shabbat and holidays.


While there are many different styles of observance of the Jewish holidays, for some Jewish students, their religious practice will prohibit them from taking exams on certain holidays. In accordance with university protocol, no one will be discriminated against for their religious practice. At the same time, a student whose observance to Jewish law prohibits them from taking an exam on a given day, must communicate with the professor about the conflict as soon as possible.

Please contact Rabbi Hain for further help or any questions about observance and university conflicts.


Columbia University has a rich history of Jewish Studies. From past professors such as Salo Baron and Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi to current giants in their respective fields like Professors Beth Berkowitz, Elisheva Carlebach, Jeremy Dauber, Rebecca Kobrin, Dan Miron, Seth Schwartz and Michael Stanislowski.

The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies is Columbia University’s center for the academic study and discussion of Jewish life, history, and culture as well as Israel and all of its complexities. The co-directors of the IIJS are Professor Elisheva Carlebach and Professor Rebecca Kobrin. Consult their website for more information, including a list of all the enriching IIJS events.