VJU stands for Vassar Jewish Union, and is the Jewish student organization at Vassar. The VJU is a member of the Vassar Student Association and offers a variety of programs, from religious to social to educational.
The VJU is a Hillel Student Organization, which means that the VJU is associated with Hillel and can utilize Hillel resources.
|The Bayit is the home for Jewish campus life at Vassar College. The Bayit is located right outside the campus at 51 Collegeview Ave. To get there, simply go through the Vassar North Gate and take a right. The Bayit is the green house at the end of the block.|
In addition to weekly Friday night Shabbat services and dinners (see below), the Bayit is frequently open during the week for social and cultural programs and student meetings. You can also get anytime card access to the Bayit—it’s a great place to study and to hang out. Just contact Rena to organize a 15-minute training session.
At the end of every week when school is in session, the Bayit holds student-led Friday night Shabbat services at 6 PM, followed by a home-cooked kosher dinner around 7:15. Our student-led services are casual and pluralistic, and spiced with lively discussion. Students lead services in a variety of styles and themes, often bringing in songs and readings of their choice. Delicious dinners and desserts are prepared in-house by our two Bayit Assistants, a paid student position. Anyone is always welcome to join us for services or just for dinner, and bring a friend or five!
The VJU sponsors services and programming for most of the Jewish holidays. In a typical year, we have full High Holiday services and dinners; build a Sukkah for services, dinners and outdoor social events; host a first-night party, latke dinner, and nightly candle-lighting throughout Hannukah; sponsor a Tu B’Shvat Seder and Purim celebrations; provide two Seders and nightly catered dinners for Passover; and hold a student-led memorial service for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Commemoration Day).
The VJU offers a variety of social events, educational programming, and social action initiatives throughout the year—ice cream socials, inter-religious discussions, lectures, game and movie nights, workshops, sushi making, bagel brunches, an end-of-the-year barbecue, and more. We often collaborate with other campus organizations on events.
The Bayit has a kosher dairy kitchen, where Shabbat meals are prepared. We bring in a kosher meat caterer for Rosh Hashana and the two Seders. Kosher luncheon meats are available in the All Campus Dining Center, as well as a wide variety of vegetarian food. Expanded kosher options, prepared in the Bayit kitchen, are available during Passover.
Vassar’s Challah for Hunger chapter is an independent student organization that bakes about 50 challahs every Wednesday night in the Bayit kitchen. The challahs are then sold on Thursday in the College Center, raising thousands of dollars every year for hunger relief. Specialty challah flavors include chocolate chip, chai, pesto, and more. Learn how to get involved here.
All Vassar students and community members are welcome at all Bayit events!
You can call Rabbi Rena Blumenthal at (845) 451-3920 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a Bayit tour. Or just join us on Friday nights – no reservations necessary!