The 24 Best Colleges For Orthodox Jews

As an Orthodox Jew who is a recent college graduate (and proud alumna of NYU), I know firsthand the challenges of being an observant Jew on a college campus. At many campuses, Shabbat, holidays and everyday meal planning can be a hassle — especially in universities far from a large Jewish community. Thankfully, I attended a university with an abundance of resources — delicious kosher food available on the meal plan, abundant Jewish programming on campus, an engaged and tight-knit Jewish student community, dedicated Hillel / Chabad / OU-JLIC professionals and plenty of synagogues nearby.

The schools on this list provide all of these things and more: our formula for Orthodox-friendly campuses is designed to ensure that all of the colleges on this list have kosher food on the meal plan, at least one Orthodox synagogue within 10 miles, abundant Jewish programming and an eruv surrounding their campus (a construct that allows Jewish residents to carry certain objects outside their own homes on Shabbat), allowing community members to observe Shabbat more easily. We adjusted our general formula to weigh these factors more heavily than others in our list, but of course, academic quality, affordability and Israel-friendliness are also important to Orthodox students and were taken into consideration as well: see “By The Numbers: The Forward’s College Guide Formula, Explained” for more information.

1 University of Pennsylvania

2 New York University

3 Washington University in St. Louis

4 Columbia University

5 Harvard University

6 Queens College

7 Yeshiva University

8 Cornell University

9 Brandeis University

10 Brown University

11 Boston University

12 University of California, Los Angeles

13 University of Maryland, College Park

14 Rutgers University

15 Johns Hopkins University

16 Binghamton University

17 George Washington University

18 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

19 Princeton University

20 Stony Brook University

21 Stanford University

22 American Jewish University

23 Muhlenberg College

24 University of California, San Diego

See Also: Touro’s Lander Colleges

Correction: August 12, 2017
A previous version of this list incorrectly omitted Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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


Laura E. Adkins

Laura E. Adkins

Laura E. Adkins is the Forward’s Deputy Opinion Editor and runs Scribe, the Forward’s Contributor Network. She holds a B.A. in Economics from NYU and grew up in Southwest Missouri. She writes about data, orthodoxy, kosher wine and builds interactive maps — though usually not all at the same time. Contact Laura at, like her page on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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The 24 Best Colleges For Orthodox Jews

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