Jewish students at Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

#3, overall score 80.5/100

Fun Fact:

Princeton Review ranked WashU as having the best dorms in the country in 2013 and 2017.

Why should Jewish students attend WashU? Washington University in St. Louis prides itself in knowing every student “by name and by story.” This personalized approach permeates through all facets of the undergraduate student experience and sets WashU apart from other institutions. WashU boasts one of the most vibrant and thriving campus Jewish communities in the country. Jewish students from all backgrounds and levels of observance come together to build connections and foster a cohesive community. WashU Hillel’s mission is to be a catalyst for Jewish life among college students attending WashU. We connect students with one another and with Jewish culture and traditions through service and social justice, Israel engagement, religious life, and social and leadership programs. Our popular “Rosh Hashanah In-a-Bag,” “Shabbat Around WashU” and “Do Your Own Seder” initiatives allow hundreds of students to create their own enduring Shabbat and holiday traditions each year in their dorms, fraternity houses, campus spaces, and apartments with friends. —Jacqueline Ulin Levy, executive director, Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis

This is a great time to be Jewish at Washington University! WashU’s Chabad House offers students so many ways to participate. The Chabad House is packed for Shabbat dinner each week, and holidays are celebrated on an even larger scale. Rosh Hashanah draws 500, and the largest dining hall on campus can barely contain the Seder! Of course, the Chabad House offers much more than inclusive Shabbat and holiday events; it is a nurturing community for students of varied backgrounds and observances, and the Chabad team takes pride in the relationships they form with students. First-year students are welcomed through “JewCrew” to help the newest members of the community navigate college life. A successful leadership board creates exciting social and cultural programs. Volunteer opportunities include an award-winning Hebrew school where WashU students are paired with children that have special needs. Jewish study options include the Sinai Scholars Society, the Ari Fellowship, one-on-one study and guest speakers, and over 1,000 young people have gone on Birthright Israel trips staffed by Chabad professionals. Chabad and Hillel work together to build a unified campus Jewish community by taking turns hosting Shabbat lunch and jointly sponsoring events. — Chana R. Novack, co-director, Chabad on Campus - Rohr Center for Jewish Life at Washington University in St. Louis

ACADEMICS Score: 30/30

  • Score: 30/30
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Israel Studies major: No

FINANCES

  • Tuition: $49,770
  • Room & board costs: $15,596
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $46,548
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Washington University in St. Louis awards an annual scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences to a student involved in Hillel.

CAMPUS INFORMATION

  • Location: St. Louis, Mo.
  • Region: Midwest
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 7,504
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,750
  • Jewish population share: 24%
  • Student origin: 8% in-state/92% out-of-state
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Bears
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Contra, Iron Horse

ISRAEL Score: 17/20

JEWISH LIFE Score: 30.17/40

  • Score: 30.17/40
  • Hillel: WashU Hillel
  • Chabad: Rohr Center for Jewish Life at Washington University in St. Louis
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Meor: No
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: AEPhi
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2016: 1
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 10
  • Hillel Friday night services: 3
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 75
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 150
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 9 (5 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 3 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alumnus: Harold Ramis
  • Most unique/noteworthy Hillel club: First Year Students of Hillel is a Hillel group led by sophomores for their first-year peers. It provides an introduction to the campus Jewish community and an immediate connection to Hillel, and builds community among first-year students. Following our Bear Beginnings Shabbat Dinner, in which we host 250-300 first-year students and family members during WashU’s Bear Beginnings (orientation) program, FYSH kicks off the year with an off-campus retreat for first-year students at the St. Louis Zoo or other special St. Louis attractions, and continues first-year student programming throughout the year, such as apple picking before Rosh Hashanah, youth group reunions and other events.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: Kosher food is readily available on campus, and can be purchased through the regular meal plans or with cash. Hot kosher meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are served Monday to Friday and Sunday in the undergraduate dining hall, and prepackaged meals can be purchased across campus. Kosher food is also available at Hillel and Chabad events and at holiday meals and programs.

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