The Jewish Religious Center at Williams College

Williams College

#39, overall score 62.33/100

Fun Fact:

During a baseball game against Harvard in 1869, the two teams’ uniforms could not be told apart. So one spectator went to a local store to buy ribbons for the Williams uniforms, and purple was the only color available — which is why purple is the college’s main color to this day. The woman who bought the ribbons was Jennie Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill.

Why should Jewish students attend Williams? The Jewish community at Williams is active, pluralist, conspicuous and welcoming. Whether participating in Friday afternoon cooking for Shabbat dinner, planning an interfaith text study, creating a conversation around “Faith and Gender Identity” or learning a new melody as part of Shabbat worship, Jewish students from many backgrounds come together to create the Williams College Jewish Association. Since 1990, the Jewish Religious Center has been the campus home to a diverse and active Jewish community, where each student is able to explore and express one’s evolving Jewish identity and engagement. — Cantor Robert Scherr, Williams College Jewish Association

ACADEMICS Score: 30/30

  • Score: 30/30
  • Acceptance rate: 18%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 7:1
  • Jewish Studies major: No
  • Israel Studies major: No

FINANCES

  • Tuition: $51,790
  • Room & board costs: $13,690
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $50,288

CAMPUS INFORMATION

  • Location: Williamstown, Mass.
  • Region: New England
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Liberal Arts: Yes
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,099
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 200
  • Jewish population share: 10%
  • Student origin: 12% in-state/88% out-of-state
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Ephs
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: WUFO, La WUFA

ISRAEL Score: 12.67/20

  • Score: 12.67/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 10
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel-related clubs: J Street U
  • BDS resolution: Never introduced

JEWISH LIFE Score: 16.33/40

  • Score: 16.33/40
  • Hillel: None (The Williams College Jewish Association is unaffiliated with Hillel)
  • Chabad: None
  • OU-JLIC: None
  • Meor: None
  • Jewish fraternities: None
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2016: 0
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 0
  • Hillel Friday night services: 1
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 90
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 1(1 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alumnus: Stephen Sondheim
  • Kosher food details: Shabbat dinner and lunch, created by students in the kosher kitchen of the Jewish Religious Center, is available on Shabbat, and sometimes as leftovers during the week. Students can prepare kosher sandwiches as part of the Grab & Go lunch available in the Paresky Student Center. Our observant students have been comfortable eating other meals at the salad bar or vegan stations in various dining halls.
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