Jewish Life at UHart

A Flourishing Community

Jewish Federation

The Office of Jewish Life at the University of Hartford is affiliated with Hillel International, whose mission is “to enrich the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.” Since its beginnings in 1923, Hillel International continues to enrich the lives of Jewish students and is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world at more than 550 colleges and universities across North America and abroad. As Hillel evolves as an organization, the mission remains steadfast: to create lasting connections with every Jewish student that foster an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

The Office of Jewish Life is guided by a mission to empower Jewish students to learn and grow intellectually and spiritually; to inspire and nurture personal paths to Jewish identity; and to cultivate community and friendship.

There is no such thing as "membership" at Hillel, and there is no one kind of Jewish student. Our community is intentionally pluralistic and welcoming for all students, whatever your relationship to Judaism looks like, and we support all students’ journeys. Everyone is welcome to participate in any or all of our programming – whether you’re Jewish, Jew”ish”, or have no association with Judaism but want to join a fun and welcoming group!

Contact Us

The Office of Jewish Life is located on the first floor of Park River apartments, adjacent to the Konover Campus Center. 

Our regular hours are Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 


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Hartford Hillel

Hillel students pumpkin picking

For nearly a century, Hartford Hillel’s network of dedicated student leaders, professionals, and volunteers have encouraged generations of young adults to celebrate Jewish learning and living, pursue social justice, and connect to their peers and the global Jewish people. It is one of UHart's most active clubs on campus and offers many opportunities for students to connect. 

Programs and Activities

In addition to hundreds of Hillel events and activities each year, the Office of Jewish Life provides many opportunities for students to grow and learn through exciting leadership opportunities, immersive experiences, holiday celebrations, and more. 

We sponsor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at no cost to students. We also provide warm and welcoming Rosh Hashanah meals, a Yom Kippur breakfast, and fun events inside and outside of our Sukkah during the fall semester. We light candles and cook latkes for Hanukkah in our Hillel Center kitchen, organize a wide range of Seder options for Passover, and provide kosher lunches and snacks throughout the holidays.

All food served at Hillel events is kosher. Catered meals are prepared under the supervision of the HKC – Hartford Kashrut Commission – either from the kosher dining station at University Commons or the Crown Market, a nearby kosher grocery and caterer. Occasionally we will bake or cook vegetarian meals in our small kosher kitchen in the Hillel Campus Center, which is not under supervision from HKC but is supervised by Jewish Life staff.

Jewish Holidays for the 2022 Fall semester 

  • Monday, Sept. 26: Rosh Hashanah Day 1
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27: Rosh Hashanah Day 2
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4: Start of Yom Kippur
  • Wednesday, Oct. 5: Yom Kippur
  • Monday, Oct. 10: Sukkot Day 1
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11: Sukkot Day 2
  • Monday, Oct. 17: Shmini Atzeret 
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18: Simchat Torah

Tell your professors

We encourage students to inform their professors well in advance of any days they will need to miss in observance (or travel to) Jewish holidays. The University of Hartford recognizes that it often schedules classes on Jewish holidays, and the Office of Jewish Life makes it easy for students to prepare for these excused days by sending out a fillable PDF at the beginning of each semester. You can download it below. 

A 10-week experiential, conversational seminar for students looking to deepen their understanding of Judaism on their own terms. We’re interested in asking big questions like: Who am I? What is worth committing myself to, and why? How does this stuff help me in my “real life?” Students receive a small scholarship upon completion of the fellowship, and many students choose to complete the program multiple times under various deep-dive topics such as:

  • Life’s Big Questions
  • Sex, Love, and Romance
  • Judaism as Art
  • Israel: Home and Homeland
  • Social Justice

History of the Fellowship

Jewish Learning Fellowship was founded in 2007 at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU. Since then, it has graduated over 3,000 fellows. We make no claims about the “right” way to practice or not to practice Judaism. Our job is to help you explore the tradition in a safe space and find your own place, on your terms, in Judaism’s Great Conversation.

Students who participate love the sense of community and respect.

"I really loved it and am very happy I did it! I am also going to highly recommend it to my friends who are Jewish and did not do it this year!" said one student.  

Students at trip

We believe in the power of immersive experiences. We know this is one of the most impactful experiences we can offer students. Whether on a 10-day Birthright trip or a weekend Shabbaton, immersion trips allow students the chance to get to know themselves and their peers in new ways. Hillel runs a campus-specific Birthright Israel trip twice per year and we are hopeful that we will be able to run an Alternative Spring Break in March 2023.

Birthright Israel Trip

Birthright Israel Hillel trips connect Jewish students to their Jewish journey and identities, to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, and, upon return, to their Jewish communities. All Hillel trips will provide a variety of meaningful Jewish experiences for young adults from all Jewish backgrounds to explore their tradition. On this trip, participants will explore Jewish history, Israeli history, and current Israeli life through exciting tours, hikes, and unique activities.

You will get to learn about about Israel from your peers – through Israelis on your trip, your Israeli tour educator, and through your own eyes – seeing Israel as it is. You will see the cities, industries and nightlife that aren’t covered on network news.

Shabbat on the immersive trip

Shabbat is celebrated in a pluralistic manner, allowing for many opportunities and experiences. In addition to Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox services, we also offer non-prayer alternatives such as meditation, discussions, and/or yoga. Shabbat is also the time where you have the opportunity, if you would like, to choose a Hebrew name and celebrate becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Explore new places

In addition to the major sites of Israel – Masada, the Dead Sea, and the Western Wall, we’ll take you to amazing places you didn’t even know existed. Ride a camel at the Bedouin tent, go Keeping in the Golan, have lunch in a Druze village, and meet Ethiopian children at an absorption center. And of course, in addition to your American peers, you will be traveling with new Israeli friends and getting to know the real Israel.

In Fall 2021, we partnered with the Office of Residential Life to renovate and manage apartments on campus designated for students who keep kosher. These recently renovated spaces are located in the Village Apartments, and we are excited to be able to add additional apartments this fall.

All applications for kosher living go through our office, and the Director of Jewish Student Life administers their registration in partnership with Residential Life. If your child is interested in living in a kosher apartment and has not yet been in touch with Lisa, please reach out ASAP (contact information below). 

Aramark Dining Services, under the supervision of Rabbi Yitzchok Adler from the HKC – Hartford Kashrut Commission - operates a kosher meat station in University Commons, the main dining hall on campus. The kosher station is open for freshly prepared meals during the following hours:

  • Lunch: Monday – Friday, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: Monday–Thursday, 5-7 p.m.

Kosher meals, packaged daily from the kosher dining station, are also available when the kosher kitchen is closed at the following on-campus locations:

  • Gengras Café (Gengras Student Union)
  • The Village Market (Konover Campus Center)

All food served at on-campus Hillel events is kosher. Catered meals are prepared by one of three local kosher eateries: The Kosher station at University Commons, The Crown Market, or Yosi Kosher Catering. All three caterers are under the supervision of the Hartford Kashrut Commission (HKC). Hillel sponsors warm and welcoming Shabbat meals on Friday evenings, open to all students!

Occasionally Hillel students will bake or cook vegetarian meals in our small kosher kitchen in the Hillel Campus Center, which is not under supervision from HKC but is supervised by Jewish Life staff. All ingredients used in the Hillel kitchen must be kosher.

Greek life

The University of Hartford offers three historically Jewish Greek organizations – Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPI), Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi (SAEPi), and Sigma Delta Tau (SDT). Office of Jewish Life connects with Jewish students in these and other Greek organizations through our Greek Jewish Council (GJC).

We are proud to be a partner and beneficiary of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. This relationship comes with an extensive network of local organizations looking to hire our students for jobs, volunteer programs, and internship opportunities. We are happy to help students find the right fit for their passion.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities and various partner organizations in our vibrant local Jewish community, visit or

Student Leadership

Our Student Leadership Team works hard to plan programs and engage with the Jewish Community on campus. Our current leadership opportunities include:

  • Hillel Student Board
  • Community Engagement Internship (CEI)
  • Jewish Learning Fellowship Internship

An internship for students who are passionate about building Jewish community outside of the Hillel space. This one-year commitment includes ongoing professional development opportunities throughout the year, a small scholarship, and the opportunity for students to learn how to blend their Jewish identity with all of the other things they love! T

Students may also register for a 3-credit independent study course, supervised by Hillel staff and advised by Dr. Amy Weiss, Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. Each independent study curriculum is individually catered to a student’s interests and abilities, and counts as an elective in most majors.

We have a few additional resources you might be interested in. 

  • Join our Jewish acappella group on campus called L’Shir 
  • Study abroad opportunities in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa through the International Center for credit. Semester and year-long programs available.
  • Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies: The Greenberg Center offers both a Major and Minor in Judaic Studies, as well as general education courses that satisfy some requirements in a wide range of majors.
  • L’Shir – Jewish acappella group on campus.
  • Study abroad opportunities in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa through the International Center for credit. Semester and year-long programs available.
  • Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies – The Greenberg Center offers both a Major and Minor in Judaic Studies, as well as general education courses that satisfy some requirements in a wide range of majors.
  • Chabad Chevra – Chabad Chevra is an SGA-recognized student organization whose advisors are Rabbi Yossi Kulek and his wife Dalia. Chabad has a house within walking distance to campus.
  • The Zachs Family Campus, located less than a mile from campus, houses a wide variety of community organizations that are welcoming to our students, including:
    • Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
    • Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford
    • Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Hartford
    • Jewish Family Services
  • The Crown Market, located in Bishops Corner, is a wonderful kosher market and catering service that includes pizza, sushi, deli, and kosher groceries. It is a 5 min drive from campus, and the campus shuttle takes students there.

Jewish Life in Pictures

The Larger Jewish Community

Outside of campus, there are also many opportunities for you to connect with the greater West Hartford Jewish community. 

The University of Hartford is in walking distance to the Zachs Family Campus which includes the JCC, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and Jewish Family Services. Campus is also within walking distance to four synagogues.

Celebrating at JCC

The robust Jewish community in West Hartford is welcoming to UHart students, and students can join the community in synagogues and for Shabbat meals at people’s homes. There are also a number of job opportunities at the different Hebrew and Day schools in the community. Additionally, there are kosher options within a couple miles of campus, including the Crown Market and Big Y, serviced by the University of Hartford campus shuttle.

Meet the team

Lisa Langsner
Director of Jewish Student Life, Division of Student Success

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Emma Strumpf
Program and Engagement Manager

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