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18 Best Colleges For Jewish Life

What do you need for Jewish life to thrive on campus?

Start with having lots of Jewish students — the fact that you need a minyan of ten people to properly pray shows how much Judaism values coming together. Add thriving Hillel and Chabad chapters to provide a wide variety of popular religious and cultural programs — or just a place to hang out. There should be lots of options for Jewish fraternities, sororities and extracurricular clubs. The community should have lots of synagogue options, both for places to pray and to pick up Sunday school jobs. And of course, what kind of Jewish community could exist without kosher food?

In other words: When it comes to thriving Jewish life, we think you need all of the above.

The Forward College Guide weighed all of these factors and more to determine the Jewish Life score for our university rankings.

There are many, many schools that provide a positive Jewish experience for students. But here are the 18 schools that scored the best:

1) University of Maryland, College Park — 34/34

2) New York University — 33/34

T-3) Brandeis University — 32/34

T-3) University of California, Los Angeles — 32/34

T-3) University of Pennsylvania — 32/34

6) Washington University in St. Louis — 30.17/34

T-7) Boston University — 29/34

T-7) Emory University — 29/34

9) Barnard College — 28.75/34

10) Northwestern University — 28.67/34

T-11) Cornell University — 28.50/34

T-11) Tufts University — 28.50/34

T-11) University of Michigan — 28.50/34

14) University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign — 28.42/34

15) Columbia University — 28.08/34

16) Rutgers University — 28/34

17) American University — 27.92/34

18) Yeshiva University — 27.50/34

NOTE: For our rankings of schools that have the best Israel atmosphere, click here.

Image by Kurt Hoffman

This article is part of the award-winning Forward College Guide — to read more fascinating stories and see the definitive rankings, click here.

Contact Aiden Pink at

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