#60, overall score 56.16/100

Fun Fact:

Every year, Swarthmore holds a Pterodactyl Hunt. The “pterodactyls” are defeated with foam bats.

Why should Jewish students attend Swarthmore? The Jewish community at Swarthmore is both incredibly diverse and tight-knit. Regardless of their background, everyone is able to find a Jewish space to fit into if they so choose. We provide spaces for prayer, discussion, learning, and socializing. Our events range from High Holiday services to kosher barbecues. We even have our own Beit Midrash (study hall) which houses ancient and contemporary Jewish texts and is the location of weekly Kehilah board meetings. We seek to be an inclusive, intellectual, comforting and caring community. We also have a vibrant interfaith community and we maintain strong partnerships with other religious organizations on campus. — Simona Dwass, Swarthmore Kehilah

If you’re looking for a small liberal arts college with an active Jewish community, the Rohr Center offers a solid Jewish community with great kosher food, thoughtful classes (some with faculty members) and great volunteering opportunities. — Rabbi Eli Gurevitz, Rohr Center for Jewish Life

ACADEMICS Score: 30/30

  • Score: 30/30
  • Acceptance rate: 13%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Jewish Studies major: Minor
  • Israel Studies major: No


  • Tuition: $49,104
  • Room & board costs: $14,446
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $46,932


  • Location: Swarthmore, Pa.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Liberal Arts: Yes
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,581
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 300
  • Jewish population share: 19%
  • NCAA Division: IIII
  • NCAA team: Garnet
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Earthworms, Warmothers

ISRAEL Score: 12.33/20

  • Score: 12.33/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 10
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel-related clubs: Swarthmore Students for Israel
  • BDS resolution: Never introduced

JEWISH LIFE Score: 10.5/40

  • Score: 10.5/40
  • Hillel: None (Swarthmore Kehilah is unaffiliated with Hillel)
  • Chabad: Rohr Center for Jewish Life
  • OU-JLIC: None
  • Meor: None
  • Jewish fraternities: None
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2016: 3
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? No
  • Kehilah Friday night services: 1
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Kehilah: 25
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 10 (3 Orthodox, 5 Conservative, 2 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alumnus: Carl Levin
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: Kehilah is the largest Jewish organization on Swarthmore’s campus. It organizes holiday celebrations, holds Shabbat services and dinners, has social events like barbecues, and co-hosts educational possibilities with other groups on campus, all of which are always free and open to the whole student body.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: The school is currently in the process of determining how to provide kosher and halal meat to students, and this change should take place within the next year. There is currently a fridge in the dining hall which is reserved for students to keep kosher and halal meat, which they can then cook themselves or have cooked on the regular grill. We also have a Co-Op in town where students can buy groceries on the meal plan, which occasionally has kosher meat. Swarthmore Kehilah provides a vegetarian/kosher Shabbat dinner every Friday night, and kosher-for-Passover meals during all of Passover.

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