Located at 80 Wall Street, across from Silliman College and sitting adjacent to the home of the University Chaplain and the backyard of the Judaic Studies Program, Joseph Slifka Center is a nexus for Jewish Life on the Yale Campus.
The award-winning structure, designed by the distinguished New Haven firm of Roth & Moore Architects, reflects the purpose as well as the aspirations of the Jewish community at Yale. Passing through the double oak doors of Stern Entrance Hall, one steps into an open, light-filled space designed to welcome all who enter. The comfortable seating in Susman Hall (known to recent generations as “the purple couch room”) is an informal but elegant first-floor living room for conversation, socializing, receptions and intimate talks by the fireplace. Walking out to the Cullman Courtyard, one can sit, take in the sun or the stars, or dine under the dramatic redwood sukkah.
On the lower level, wrapping around a sunken garden courtyard shaded by a white flowering pear tree, Heyman Commons can seat as many as 275 people for delicious meals prepared in the Lindenbaum Kosher Kitchen. (When upwards of 400 hungry people show up for one of Slifka’s famous Bagel Brunches, they spread throughout the building with paper plates, bagels, and all the fixings, including 80 lbs. of lox!)
On the second floor, Sylvia Slifka Chapel serves many purposes: a holy space, a yoga and krav maga studio, a concert and lecture hall, a theatre, a cinematheque, an occasional private dining room, a reception area. Artists are encouraged to explore their Jewish voice and display their work in the Allan and Leah Rabinowitz Gallery. Rounding out the second floor, the Beit Midrash is the site of daily prayer and traditional study, while the Hillel Program Office is the nerve center of student planning, organizing, and creativity.
The third floor Zucker Reading Room and Friedman Library houses a Judaica collection of over 5,000 volumes, and serves as a (often) quiet area for contemplation, research, writing and study.