What is Hillel?

Hillel is the largest Jewish student organization in the world, present at more than 550 colleges, universities, and cities. Click here to learn about Hillel International.

What does Hillel offer?

Experiences and relationships that help students of all backgrounds meet new friends and form deep, personal connections to Judaism through exploration, leadership, and relationships. Hillel’s student leaders and professional staff provide meaningful opportunities and create a space for students to celebrate, hang out, travel, give back and learn. 

What kind of programs do you have?

Hillel events are planned by our creative student leaders. Programs are driven by our values and include everything from challah bakes to purim parties. Have an idea for a program? Get in touch and we will help you make it happen!

How can I find out about Hillel-sponsored programs and events?

This website provides updated information about Hillel events. By filling out an information form, you will receive a weekly email with notices about programs, groups, and special events. You can also follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

How do I get involved?

There’s no such thing as a “member” of Hillel, because we consider all students a part of our community. You can come and go as you please! If you like what we’re doing and are passionate about creating Jewish experiences for yourself and others, you may wish to run for a leadership position on Hillel Board (elections take place in the fall). You may also find yourself wanting to get involved with our Jewish special interest groups and Jewish Greek Life. Whatever you choose to do, we are happy to support you and welcome you to the Jewish community at CofC.

Who comes to Hillel?

Hillel programs are open to all CofC students regardless of their background. We’re always happy to see new faces, so please feel free to bring along your non-Jewish friends and roommates. Our non-judgmental and respectful environment allows all students to feel comfortable and to ask questions.

I don’t know anyone, and it seems like a tight community. How can I meet people?

Most of the close friends you might see here didn’t know each other a year ago. Getting comfortable starts with showing up. Still, we know that can be overwhelming in and of itself. We want to help you in any way possible, so let us know you’re coming, and a connected student or staff member will meet with you beforehand. We also love taking our students out for coffee/tea so make sure to mark that down on the Contact Form. Additionally, events during Weeks of Welcome and our bi-weekly meals are a great way to meet new friends and see what we’re about.  

Do you serve Kosher food? What if I have a food allergy or dietary preference?

The food we serve from our kitchen in Arnold Hall is kosher-style dairy. When we order food or host events elsewhere without our own food, all food is kosher-style. Approximately once a month, we offer a catered kosher meat meal. Marty’s Place, next door to our building, is College of Charleston’s Kosher Vegetarian Dining Hall. In addition, our chefs are happy to prepare food with dietary requirements in mind, as long as they know in advance. While we usually serve dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free options, if you want to make sure you have something substantial to eat, let us know! If you have questions about Kosher food, allergies, or other dietary requirements, feel free to contact us.

Is Hillel Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, or something else?

Hillel is not affiliated with any particular denomination. Our staff, students, and community members all belong to different denominations of Judaism. Charleston is a supportive Jewish community where many people feel free to visit synagogues, services, and programs from different types of Judaism. Basically, you’re free to practice your Judaism the way you want, as long as you’re supportive of others who want to practice Judaism their way. Also, if you’re not sure what all this denomination stuff means, stop by our office or email us at any time!

What is Shabbat like at CofC Hillel?

We have services at 5:45 pm, right before Shabbat dinner at 6:30 pm. Like everything else at Hillel, services are led by students. Please don’t be shy if you would like to participate or even help lead services! You are still welcome for meals if you don’t attend services beforehand. In terms of attire, it is up to you! You are welcome to dress as you like – some students arrive for services or dinner directly from class and are comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt while some students may choose to dress in formal clothing for Shabbat.

How many Jewish students attend the College of Charleston?

There are approximately 600 Jewish students at the College of Charleston, and that number is only growing!

I’m thinking about applying to CofC and would like to visit campus. 

Great idea!  If you are considering attending school at CofC, it’s a good idea to visit campus and get a taste of what life is like here. In addition to getting an official campus tour, Hillel can arrange for you to meet with students who can tell you more about Jewish life on campus.  Check out our Prospective Student page for more information.

I’m interested in going to Israel. Can Hillel help me get there? 

Yes. Our Hillel takes more students to Israel on Taglit-Birthright Israel than any other Hillel in the country. If you are a Jewish person between the ages of 18-32, you may be eligible for the free trip. CofC has a trip during both winter and summer breaks. There are additional opportunities for travel or study in Israel beyond Birthright. Contact us to learn more!

My professor has scheduled an exam on a Jewish holiday. What do I do?

The Absence Memo Office at the College of Charleston is your best resource for making up any classwork. Check out their website and complete this form and return it to their office (The Lightsey Center, Suite 101).

Where is Hillel located?

Hillel is more than just a place! That being said, the majority of our programs and meals happen at the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center (96 Wentworth). The Hillel Lounge and staff offices are on the second floor, while meals are served on the first floor.

What is the connection between CofC Hillel and Jewish Studies?

CofC Hillel has a unique partnership with the Jewish Studies Program. Being housed in the Jewish Studies Center, we are fortunate to offer students high quality learning and engagement under one roof. Hillel is here to serve the social and cultural needs of CofC students, while the Jewish Studies Program provides students with rich academic opportunities.