About Slifka Center


In 1995, the lexicon of the Yale campus changed forever with the opening of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life, for the first time bringing under one roof Yale’s main Jewish student programs: Hillel; The Kosher Kitchen; and Young Israel House. Overnight, “Slifka” came to describe both a place and a program, and ensured that being a Jew at Yale is celebrated. Through Slifka Center, Jewish life at Yale is woven into the natural rhythm of the campus, and harnesses the innovative thinking and intellectual rigor of the university.

Slifka Center is among the premiere campus Jewish centers in the world, with the capacity to offer programs of breadth, depth and centrality to campus life, Jewish and non-Jewish, that allows us to ‘compete’ successfully for our students’ time and attention. We are developing future Jewish leaders, and men and women who will lead in the private sector and public spheres Jewish-ly.

Fostering Dynamic Jewish Life at Yale

Along with an unparalleled academic experience, the Yale education enables students’ great expansion of personal identity through social, intellectual, spiritual, communal and emotional journeys. During this four-year threshold between childhood and adult life, they can, and do, ponder the great questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What makes a life worth living?

Slifka Center sees an opportunity to offer complementary programs that can engage, educate, provoke and inspire students through a Jewish lens, so that they also ponder: What does it mean to be Jewish? Why are there Jews in the world? What makes a Jewish life worth living?

Our Approach

We know that successfully engaging students to ponder the great questions requires many points of entry, many avenues for life and growth. And that we must exist not just within the building but around campus and throughout the world. Therefore Slifka Center is conceived as a laboratory of Jewish exploration at, and of, Yale. We offer experiences for students to see, taste, touch, and probe old and new modes of Jewish involvement, and take up their own modes, as they begin to imagine the Jewish future they will one day help shape and lead.

Specifically, The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale:

  • Supports current and evolving forms of Jewish association, from the full spectrum of religious services, to cultural, secular, intellectual, and social programs;
  • Fosters intra-denominational relationships, experiences and micro-communities that provoke reflection upon, wrestling-with, and dialoging-about the terms of being a Jew;
  • Nourishes the body through the Lindenbaum Kosher Kitchen in Heyman Commons, where students, faculty and staff gather for meals and conversation every day;
  • Tends the soul with a robust Rabbinic staff from a variety of backgrounds who lend support to minyanim, and provide pastoral care and program leadership;
  • Provokes the mind with learning and teaching of Torah, Talmud and other texts ancient and modern;
  • Enables a multi-pronged exploration of the arts as a way into new Jewish modes of imagining the world and marking ancient holidays;
  • Connects Yale students’ developing social conscience and community commitments with the Jewish values of Tzedek, Tzedaka and Tikkun Olam, and exploration of inclusiveness across issues of gender and sexuality;
  • Promotes a living connection to the State of Israel;
  • Maintains a living link between Yale’s Jewish student communities and Jewish Yale parents, alumni, faculty and staff on- and off-campus;
  • Models the virtues of life-long Jewish learning, living and leading.

Click to read more about What We Do and the History of Jewish Life at Yale.