Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Learn more about Jewish life on campus!
How many Jewish students are on campus?
This is a difficult question to answer since not all students self-identify as being Jewish and we do not receive self-identification statistics from the University. Right now, we estimate the total Jewish population on campus is around 1,000 students, or about 15% of the undergraduate population.
Do you offer Shabbat services and dinner every week?
Hillel has Shabbat services and dinner every week school is in session at the Schulman Center for Jewish Life. Some Friday nights we offer both Reform and Conservative services and other nights we offer a hybrid camp-style service. We also have a free kosher meat dinner that is attended by over 75 students each week. We do not require RSVP for either! Learn more about Shabbat by CLICKING HERE.
What do you have for the Jewish Holidays?
We offer both Conservative and Reform services on campus for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as meals. For Passover, we host a number of student led Seders, and work closely with Vanderbilt Campus Dining to provide kosher for Passover meals in the dining halls.
What about Israel?
Vanderbilt Hillel has a fantastic Israel advocacy program run through ‘Dores for Israel. DFI sponsors the highly popular Falafel at Midnight events throughout the year, in addition to activities geared towards raising political awareness. We work with The David Project and AIPAC to help promote Israel on campus and in the community. Each summer, we sponsor a Birthright trip with a full bus of Vanderbilt students!
How is Vanderbilt Hillel funded?
Vanderbilt Hillel is wholly funded through the generosity of our parents, alumni, and the Nashville Jewish community and is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. We do not receive funding from Vanderbilt University.
Do you have a Hillel building?
The Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life houses Vanderbilt Hillel. The center is located at the corner of Vanderbilt Place and 25th Avenue South. Learn more about Ben Schulman’s dedication to the Jewish students of Vanderbilt by CLICKING HERE.
Can I arrange a visit to campus?
Is there a place to buy Kosher food on campus?
Yes, all of the campus convenience stores have a variety of Kosher options. Vanderbilt Hillel houses Grins Kosher Restaurant, a kosher vegetarian restaurant on the Vanderbilt Meal Plan (see Vanderbilt Dining for more information). Vanderbilt Chabad provides meat options with their Kosher Food Truck, Aryeh’s Kitchen, and there are several kosher vegetarian restaurants in Nashville, as well.
How many students are members of Hillel?
Hillel doesn’t have members- all Vanderbilt students are welcome to attend our programs and activities. The Schulman Center is one of the main areas students of all stripes congregate on campus, whether they are eating at Grins Kosher Restaurant, studying, or just relaxing with friends. Hundreds of students regularly participate in Hillel activities, and about 200 hold at least one leadership position in one of over 25 Hillel student microcommunities.
How big is the Nashville Jewish Community?
Nashville is home to over 10,000 Jews and a thriving Jewish community with hundreds more joining the community every year.
How many synagogues are in Nashville?
In addition to Vanderbilt Hillel and Vanderbilt Chabad, there are 2 Reform congregations, 1 Conservative congregation, 1 Orthodox congregation, and 1 Chabad that serve the Jewish Community of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. In addition, there is a Jewish Federation, JCC, JFS, and Jewish Day School among many other Jewish groups. Learn more on the Nashville Community Directory.