University Life


Columbia and Barnard are supportive of all religious life on campus. The university is very accommodating of 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 individual’s personal experience. This makes for an enriching balance which will tolerate neither discrimination nor entitlement.

As a branch within the university, we here at the Kraft Center are here to serve as a line of communication, ensuring that every student’s voice is heard, and assisting as a liaison for the university in addressing needs. The goal is that every student is treated fairly and that the academic and broader university experience is not compromised. We are here to help!


All 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 for all 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. For a list of major holidays visit the Barnard website.

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 director of the IIJS is Professor Jeremy Dauber. Consult their website for more information, including a list of all of the IIJS events.