Frequently Asked Questions
- What kind of Jewish life is there on the Susquehanna campus?
- Could you tell me if the Hillel is in place and active at Susquehanna? How many students are members? What activities do they sponsor?
- Is SU Hillel in contact with Hillels at other colleges in the area? Do they ever meet for joint events?
- Is there a rabbi on campus?
- My daughter was brought up in a Reform environment. Would this fit in with the other Jewish students?
- What does Susquehanna’s affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church mean for non-Lutherans?
- Is there a synagogue nearby?
- If my son takes off for the High Holidays will he be penalized by his teachers for missing class?
- Does the cafeteria offer kosher for Passover food? Kosher food in general?
What kind of Jewish life is there on the Susquehanna campus?
Students who want to connect with Jewish life or learning while attending SU will find a variety of academic and extracurricular activities from which to choose. For example, the university’s Jewish Studies program offers a regular cycle of courses and programming, and also can be chosen as a minor.
There are currently about 60 self-identified Jewish students on campus or roughly 2.3% of the student body, who reflect a diversity of Jewish affiliations.
Could you tell me if the Hillel is in place and active at Susquehanna? How many students are members? What activities do they sponsor?
There is an active and growing Hillel on campus that organizes Jewish religious and cultural events throughout the year. Hillel meets every Sunday evening to plan and arrange events and activities. Check out the Jewish Life pages to see what Hillel is up to this year!
Is SU Hillel in contact with Hillels at other colleges in the area? Do they ever meet for joint events?
Yes, there is an active e-mail exchange between Hillels at Bucknell University, Dickinson College and Bloomsburg University. SU Hillel has participated in a number of joint events with the Bucknell Hillel, and members from both schools have worked together teaching in the Sunday Hebrew school at Congregation Beth El.
Is there a rabbi on campus?
Rabbi Kate Palley, ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary, is an important part of our SU community. Learn more about her on the Meet the Rabbi page.
My daughter was brought up in a Reform environment. Would this fit in with the other Jewish students?
Absolutely! SU has attracted all kinds of Jewish students, from Orthodox to secular Israelis. The majority of students here are from Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative backgrounds.
Susquehanna and its students benefit from an historical relationship with the church, which continues today. Like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the university is open and ecumenical, and seeks to develop an understanding of our ethical and spiritual responsibilities. For example, all students take a course to help them understand the implications of ethical questions in life and society.
There is an active campus ministry which encompasses several student religious groups. About 12 percent of students report being Lutheran. The remainder represent other faiths and denominations, or have no religious affiliation.
Congregation Beth El in Sunbury is about 15 minutes away. Beth El is a non-affiliated congregation that supports Jewish life in the Central Susquehanna Valley region of Pennsylvania. There are also Reform, Conservative and Orthodox synagogues within driving distance of SU. Speak with Rabbi Palley if you are interested in attending any of these synagogues.
No. In setting assignment deadlines or scheduling examinations, university policy requires instructors to make allowances for students who may be returning to their homes for the holidays or who worship locally and, consequently, may miss class.
Evert Dining Room has a limited selection of kosher for Passover food during the holiday, though students who strictly observe the dietary laws may not find this suitable for their needs. In such situations, students may arrange eating options with Rabbi Palley. Kosher food in general is not available in the cafeteria, though the dining room has a range of vegetarian options The Hillel House has a kosher kitchen, and students who choose to may make arrangements with Rabbi Palley to use that space.