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FAQs

There are approximately 1,850 Jewish undergraduate students at The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), about 13% of the undergraduate student population. At Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) there are approximately 550 Jewish undergraduate students, about 10% of the undergraduate student population. There are approximately 600 Jewish graduate students at CMU, Pitt and Duquesne University combined.

The Hillel JUC runs a wide array of programs designed to enhance the Jewish awareness of our students including spiritual, cultural, historic, and Israel-based programming. We have two student boards, one from CMU and one from Pitt. While the boards operate autonomously, they work collaboratively on three committees including Jewish education, social justice and Shabbat and holidays committee. Together, with our staff, they plan programs, events and holiday celebrations that are open to the entire Pittsburgh Jewish university student population. Students are encouraged to pursue their ideas, take the initiative, as well as get involved with existing projects and committees. For those not on a committee, students with good ideas are still provided funding and mentoring. The only limitations we have are our own imaginations!

Any student on campus can participate in Hillel JUC sponsored events. There are no membership fees and students are encouraged to plan and/or attend as little or as many programs and activities as they wish. Programs are supported by Parents, Alumni and the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. If you have an idea for a program or would like to find out about leadership opportunities, please click here.

CMU offers kosher dining options on campus. Pitt also offers a kosher dining option that is centrally located in the food court of the Towers Dormitory next to the William Pitt Student Union. In addition, all food served at Hillel JUC programs and events is kosher. Both the Hillel JUC as well as the respective food service providers at CMU and Pitt are always open to exploring options and accommodating special needs whenever possible.

Every week over a hundred or so students join together at the Joseph Stern Building for student-led Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Shabbat services followed by dinner where on average there are over 160 students each week. The students often plan special themed Shabbats that include culinary, cultural and educational themes. Afterwards, students are welcome to "hang out" at with their friends and enjoy the game room, student lounge and spirit of Shabbat by just being with friends. On Saturday morning, students organize morning services followed by a light Kiddush. Some students choose to come to services and meals. Others may attend only services or only to join their friends for a Shabbat meal. For a schedule of upcoming Shabbat programming, please visit our calendar of events.

The Hillel JUC runs a full program of services and meals for the High Holidays, Passover, and other festivals and holidays. During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, services are held and meals are offered including dinners and pre-fast and break-fast meals on Yom Kippur. During Passover, there are a variety of Seders on the first and second nights, and students may even purchase "Seder Kits to Go" for use in their dorm, off-campus apartment, or fraternity/sorority. Other holidays are celebrated with programs, services, and dinners depending on where they fall during the academic calendar. For more information contact [email protected].

The best way to gain a sense of either CMU and/or Pitt is to visit our campus in person. The The Office of Undergraduate Admission at Carnegie Mellon University and The The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Pittsburgh can arrange for prospective students to tour the campus, observe classes, and eat in the dining halls. The office can also assist students with overnight stays. Prospective students interested in Jewish life on campus hosting over a Shabbat should contact our staff and visit our calendar of events for Hillel JUC sponsored activities specifically for potential students throughout the year.

The Hillel JUC is at the forefront of social justice programming at CMU and Pitt. With programs ranging from Darfur awareness, Katrina Relief, and Environmental awareness to volunteering in our own community Kosher Pantry, work with the homeless and tutoring disadvantaged youth, there is a wide variety of programs to become involved in. The Hillel JUC is committed to conducting engaging programs that make social justice and the teaching of related Jewish texts and values a core component of our mission on campus. To request more information on our social justice programming click here.

The Hillel JUC relies on the generous donors to support our on-going programming and special initiatives. We firmly believe that by investing in the Jewish future of our students, we are investing in our own Jewish future as today's students have the potential to play a meaningful role in our Jewish future... if we can reach them. Please click here to learn more about giving opportunities to the Hillel JUC.

A majority of the Hillel JUC's funding comes from private foundations and donors. A portion of our budget comes from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. However, more than a third of our budget, has to be raised annually from parents, alumni and other friends of the Hillel JUC. We simply could not sustain this extraordinary range of programs and services without the annual campaign. Your contribution is a critical part of what makes Jewish life on campus in Pittsburgh possible. Please click here to learn more about giving opportunities to the Hillel JUC.

Your son or daughter may not have come to the Hillel JUC (though it's possible he or she has and just has not told you), but Hillel JUC has certainly come to him or her. Students in Pittsburgh "happen upon" our Jewish life on campus - whether it is the fall orientation events, Campus Superstar (our own version of "American Idol"), holiday services, or merely a sign on campus. Due to the fact that we are the second largest student organization at both CMU and Pitt, students are more often than not aware of the Hillel JUC and participate in a Hillel JUC sponsored event at some point.

The Hillel JUC has grown tremendously over the past 5 years. Whether you witnessed the peak of this growth or whether you experienced Hillel JUC when it was merely a small office, we simply cannot sustain this extraordinary range of programs and growth without the support of alumni. More than a third of our budget, has to be raised annually from parents, alumni and other friends of the Hillel JUC. Your contribution is a critical part of what allows the Hillel JUC to continue to grow, develop student leaders, and create a Jewish community on campus that will in turn enhance the Jewish people and the world.

The Hillel JUC is a private not-for-profit organization (501-c3) and is fully accredited by Hillel International. The Hillel JUC is integrated into the University community through its dynamic programs, co-sponsored events, and the involvement of active students in many other University groups. Both CMU and Pitt are very supportive of the Hillel JUC and the unique role we play on their respective campus' to provide a welcoming atmosphere for Jewish students, faculty, and families in Pittsburgh.

If you are like many Jewish Pittsburgh alums, you probably wish that Hillel had been like this when you were in school. The fact is that few Hillels offer as wide an array of quality programs as the Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh. With new kosher food on campus and student led Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform services weekly, the Hillel JUC is becoming a destination for Jewish students. Support for the Hillel JUC is an investment in the future of American Jewish life, and one which we are trying to ensure will continue to pay great dividends for all of us.