All posts by Nicholas Rivera

Summer at Slifka

Spending the summer in New Haven?
Join us at Slifka!

To get info on all of our summer programming, join our WhatsApp group. Link here.

Throughout the summer, we’ll be having weekly events, some special grad student programming, and more! Want to learn one-on-one with a staff member? Want to get ice cream with a new friend and have Slifka pay for it? Let us know here!

Yom Hashoah at Slifka

Yom Hashoah – Monday April 17-18

Join us in commemorating Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) tonight at 8:00pm. We will be meeting in the Slifka Lobby, lighting candles, and then walking over to The Women’s Table for a short ceremony.


Here is a short reflection to ponder from Springboard Fellow and Engagement Coordinator Aviva Green.

When I think of this day, the image that comes to me is a library only half full with books. There are shelves packed with volumes, with pages worn with use, dogeared corners and words and sentences underlined. Others are more sparse, with large and spacious gaps between books.

These are the stories of the Holocaust. Some are full of source material and others not. The emptiness in the library, the dusty, cobwebbed gaps in the bookshelf, are the silences. For countless stories there are no papers to sift through, no photos to frame, nothing to make them known to us in the voice to which they belong. It is an impossible archival task. It becomes easy to let these silences become a vacuum, to let them draw you into a dark crevasse, to let them be truly void, and worse, abandoned. 

But if you listen close enough, these silences vibrate. They hum with faint sounds muffled by a violent erasure. They are tuned to a certain key. The silences are thick and viscous, as if you were to scoop some of it out, it would pour like honey, dripping with the sticky residue of narratives refusing to be forgotten. 

For the people for whom we have no tangible record, those who are represented by these silences, we imagine. Not by fabricating their stories, but by thinking expansively. We use our creative and collective power to listen to that certain key. We grieve the loss of a tangible record while creating a whole new one. To turn nothingness into beautiful and haunting renderings of a past that is deeply connected to the present. We turn to poetry, art, music to pick up where the gaps in the bookshelf left off. Through adding these pieces to the bookshelf, we make sure their stories stay alive, remembered, and retold. 


Rothko Sukkah Design Competition

Rothko Sukkah Design Competition at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale  

First Round Proposals Due April 1, 2023 

The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale is seeking an architect, engineer, designer, and or artist to design and execute a new sukkah, which will be graciously funded by the Weiss family. Slifka is looking for someone to think expansively about what a sukkah can look and feel like. As a temporary dwelling associated with themes of joy, fragility, transience, and freedom, the sukkah provides the opportunity to embody these ideals, and more, in the physical space. The Weiss Family Sukkah will live at Slifka and be put together for every Sukkot.  

The competition will function in two rounds. The first round will be focused on the conceptual and the second on turning these conceptual ideas into a technically sound structure.  

Please reach out to Aviva Green ( with any questions.  

Round 1 

Through the embodiment of the above listed themes, the sukkah and the space it occupies are fertile ground to ask questions about openness, tradition, and the public and the private. Four specific images from the Jewish tradition provide conceptual grounding for these questions: clouds of glory; the sukkat shalom; the inversion of the ephemeral and permanent; and the harvest festival. As such, Rachel Leiken, the associate Jewish chaplain at the Slifka Center, taught a learning session about these images, which was recorded. To view the Zoom recording and the accompanying source sheet, please email Aviva at

In this round, you will be asked to contemplate one of these images and how one can acknowledge, investigate, grapple with, and transform them into space. Thinking deeply about the ways in which they can guide the creation of new experiences within an altered space, you will be asked to create a vision of how a sukkah can accomplish this.    

Please submit this form by April 1. Please note that if selected, you will be asked to translate your vision into a physical structure, which needs to fulfill the requirements of traditional Jewish law; have easy to follow instructions for assembly; be easily packed away, stored, and reassembled; and have replacement parts that can be readily acquired. The dimensions of the terrace where the sukkah will be built are 28’x61’-6”. To view photos of this space, click here.  

Round 2 

Selected finalists will be given a stipend of $2,500, two months, and detailed dimensions of the Slifka space to create a detailed design and execution plan for a sukkah, grounding in the conceptual vision from round one. There will be a virtual session with all finalists open to the Slifka community for a question and answer session. The second round of proposals will be due on June 22, 2023. The winner will receive an additional $2,500. The winner will need to be able to execute the building of the Sukkah over the summer/early fall of 2023. Slifka will cover all travel expenses.  

Slifka Internal Internships

Slifka is hiring interns! Below are the positions, please take a look. If you are interested in any of these roles, send an email to or with the role in the subject line and a few sentences about why you’re interested. We will follow up with you!


SNACK Intern- Slifka Nourishment and Community Kitchen Intern – Managed by Rachel

The SNACK intern is responsible for helping to maintain Slifka’s common student spaces, including Sussman Hall, the Noah Wellness Center, and the student-use kitchen. This includes tidying these areas up at the end of each day, ensuring that there is no trash laying around and that items from the Noah Center are replaced and moveable charging stations are plugged in. They are also responsible for liaising with staff around ordering snacks and supplies for the kitchen, as well as maintaining the popcorn machine in the SFS Office. The SNACK Intern will gather student feedback and input on the Noah Wellness Center and the kitchen, and will communicate this information with the staff. The Intern will also support the planning, advertising, and implementation of at least one event of the Noah Center each semester. The SNACK Intern is expected to spend 5-10 hours per week on this role and will be compensated at $14.30/hr.


JLF Intern – Managed by Rachel

The JLF Intern supports the JLF facilitators in creating a meaningful experience for those who participate in the Jewish Learning Fellowship. They are involved in each aspect of the fellowship, from advertising and recruitment to planning and facilitation. Their particular focus is on fostering a sense of community and connection among fellows in each cohort. This includes having coffee conversations with fellows, sharing information about other Slifka events they might be interested in, and attending events together. On a weekly basis, the JLF Intern is expected to (1) attend the JLF session, (2) meet with Aviva and Rachel to debrief and plan the next week, (3) engage at least 2 JLF fellows in conversation, and (4) send out a weekly email. The JLF Intern is expected to spend 2-3 hours per week on this role and will receive the JLF stipend of $300.


Reform Chavurah Intern – Managed by Rachel

The Reform Chavurah Intern supports the functioning and flourishing of Slifka’s Reform community. This includes logistical responsibilities such as maintaining the Reform email list, sending out weekly emails in advance of services, setting up or getting supplies for services or events, creating a calendar for service leading, and more. They will work closely with Rachel, Associate Jewish Chaplain and Reform Clergy person, to ensure that students know and are excited about Reform services and programming, and that those who attend receive follow-up engagement. They will also support community-building activities among the Reform Chavurah, planning, advertising, and implementing at least one social or outreach event each semester. The Reform Intern will represent the Reform Chavurah at G?!d Squad meetings and will support community-wide holiday planning. The Reform Chavurah Intern is expected to spend 5-7 hours per week on this role and will be compensated at $14.30/hr.


Social Media Intern – Managed by Aviva 

The social media intern will create content for Slifka’s Instagram, facebook, and screens in the Slifka building. The intern will be responsible for creating original content as well as content made per the instructions of their supervisor. They will make sure there is a content calendar for the Slifka social media pages that is dynamic and exciting. This intern will also be responsible for creating and posting two student spotlights per month. Along with their work with supervisor, Aviva Green, they will work with Operations Manager, Margarita Nieves, and Student Life Operations Associate, Nick Rivera. The social media intern will be expected to work 5-10 hours per week and will be compensated $14.50/hr. 


Service Engagement Internship – Managed by Aviva

The Service Engagement Internship is run in partnership with Repair the World and Hillel International for students interested in direct service, social justice work, learning and peer engagement. Interns will create and run service projects that engage their peers and participate in cohort learning sessions run by Hillel International and Repair the World. Each student intern will receive $500 directly from Repair the World for their participation in the year-long program and will be supervised by Springboard Fellow Aviva Green. There are 3 internship spots available. 

Note: one internship spot is reserved for someone who will be working on a community fridge project. The community fridge, located outside of the YMCA on Howe Street in the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven, serves as a food supply resource for those living in the neighborhood. It is open one day a week and receives food donations from Slifka and local grocery stores. The intern working on this project will oversee the maintenance of the fridge, ensure it is continually stocked, and serve as a liaison to other community partners working on the project. 

Internship requirements: 

  • Interns will be required to attend a two hour orientation session on Zoom at the beginning of the program.
  • With the support of Aviva, each intern will develop a service engagement plan to be submitted for approval to secure funding no later than November 7, 2022. 
    • Qualifying plans will result in each intern engaging in at least 10 acts of individual service and learning along with engaging at least 25 additional students who will each participate in at least one act of service and learning 
  • Interns will be required to attend a 2-hour mid-year session via Zoom in January 2023.
  • Interns will be required to participate in a topic-based small learning cohort run by Repair the World and Hillel International. Interns will be able to choose among several issue-specific topics such as Climate Justice, Food Justice, and Racial Justice. Cohorts will meet approximately 4 times during the year.
  • (Optional): Interns will have the option of joining some or all of four skill-building trainings. These will be offered throughout the fall 2022 semester. Topics will include:
    • Recruitment 101
    • Planning a Program
    • Influence/Campus Mapping
    • Identifying Service Partners 

Photography Intern – More Info Coming Soon!

Slifka Offerings 2022

Here you will find everything you need to know about the regular programming Slifka has to offer for the Fall 2022 semester, including fellowships, internships, learning and arts



  • First Year Ambassadors 
    • Looking for an opportunity to grow your leadership skills in a supportive and nurturing environment? Looking for an opportunity to connect with other First-Years? Looking for an opportunity to build community amongst your class year? Become a First-Year Ambassador and learn how to do all of this and more! First-Year Ambassadors is a community-building leadership opportunity for anyone in the Class of 2026 to gain experience and create opportunities for their classmates. Click here to apply. Contact Aviva Green with any questions.
  • Urim Fellowship 
    • Community is one of the central pillars of Judaism. The Urim fellowship recognizes the sacredness of building relationships and Jewish community, and invites you to hone your skills in this work. In this fellowship we will meet once a week to build and discuss leadership, community organizing, and human-centered design thinking skills. But most importantly, we will actively be working to build community and foster new relationships among Yale’s Jewish student body. Every week fellows will reach out to at least one peer for a one on one conversation. As we build these personal relationships we will also work together to foster new Jewish communities.
    • Strong candidates will either have a) a specific constituency in mind that they would like to engage as well as a network within that constituency. Or b) an interest in fostering new relationships and cultivating belonging among Jews of diverse backgrounds. We encourage everyone to apply regardless of your Jewish knowledge and background.



  • Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) – Tuesdays 5:30-7 or 6:30-8
    • JLF is an 8-10-week experiential, conversational seminar that invites fellows to deepen their understanding of Judaism on their own terms. We will explore some of life’s big questions, including those related to community, identity, friendships, and space. We make no claims about the “right” way to practice or not to practice Judaism. The goal of the fellowship is to help you explore the tradition in a welcoming, warm space in conversation with a diverse group of people. That means we’ll ask a lot of big questions, but we don’t purport to have any of the big answers. This semester (Fall 2022), we will be offering two different tracks– one focused on exploring big questions in Judaism, and one focused on what Jewish wisdom can teach us about fighting for justice. Apply here. Students who attend at least 8 sessions will receive a $300 stipend. Fall semester cohorts are open to all Yale students. Interested? Questions? E-mail Rachel Leiken.
  • Building Your Judaism – Wednesdays at 6pm starting on October 26 
    • The purpose of this “class” is to think about what it looks like to build a Jewish life and practice that meets our needs, hopes, and dreams. We’ll think about different elements of Judaism including but not limited to prayer, theology, observance, and justice with the aim of figuring out what it might look like to incorporate these into our daily lives. There is no assumption about what your Jewish life “should” look like; instead, we’ll focus on what is important and nourishing to us and how we might go about building the skills and resources to make it a part of the way we move about the world.  This offering is for anyone who has ever asked “what next?” or “Ok, I’m Jewish, or I want to be Jewish, but what does that mean? What can my Judaism look like?”
  • Intro to Judaism – Fridays at 3pm starting October 14 
    • This (non-credit) course will meet once a week for an introduction to many different aspects of Judaism and Jewish life. Topics will include but are not limited to: the Jewish cycle of time and Jewish holidays, study of some major Jewish texts, halakha (Jewish law), different denominations of Judaism, and more. This class is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more, including those who are reconnecting with Judaism and/or want to deepen their knowledge, those who are in the process of conversion, or those who just want to know more. You do not have to be Jewish to sign up– people of any faith and no faith are welcome!
  • Yeshivat Yale – Thursdays at 8:30pm on 3rd Floor of Slifka
    • Beloved weekly hour of Talmudic mayhem, deep camaraderie, and homemade waffles. All are warmly welcome – no background required. We’ll do deep dives on one or more of (1) the question of brain death and organ donation in Jewish law, and (2) liberal-democratic ethics in Talmudic sources, and (3) pluralism in theory and practice.  
  • LGBTorah – Every other Friday at 2pm starting on September 9th in Zucker Reading Room 
    • Join us for a bi-weekly warm and welcoming session of queer text study! We read all types of Jewish texts through a queer lens. Come by all year or drop by for one session. No prior Jewish learning experience or knowledge necessary. All texts will have English translations. All are welcome!
  • Sunday Night Learning – Sundays, 7pm on 3rd floor of Slifka
    • Kosher dinner from local restaurants paired with Torah learning curated by Slifka staff
  • Ambition, Worry, Love, etc: Torah as a Guide to Living – Wednesdays at 6:30pm starting September 7th in Friedman Library (3rd Floor Library) 
    • Each week, we’ll focus on a central, sometimes-wonderful, sometimes-angsty part of what it means to be a person – and we’ll explore the terrain of our experiences, taking Torah as a kind of map. No prior experience with Jewish text study or Hebrew is required – just an open mind and heart. (Dinner provided)
  •  Abortion and Reproductive Rights in Judaism September 7, 14, 21, and 28 at 12pm
    • A 4-session course at Yale Law School on Judaism’s approaches to abortion and reproductive rights (lunch provided)
    • Register on Yale Connect here


  • Student Art Exhibition
    • We have lots of wall space in our beautifully reopened building and would love nothing more than to fill it with pieces from you, our wonderful students. Lend us your art and we will proudly display it in our gallery, and the exhibition will be featured in the building’s grand reopening on October 13th. All we need is the piece itself, its title, an artist statement and your name and class year. Along with paintings, drawings, etc., we would love to spotlight your summer experiences, so if you have an amazing photograph you took this summer, we will print it for you. To have your art in the exhibition, send the above information and a photo of the piece (or an image file for a photograph) to Aviva Green.  
  • Blanksteen Artist in Residence Student Cohort 
    • The Blanksteen Artist Residency will run for the first time this year from December to March. We will welcome (name) into our community for these three months during which they will work on a commissioned piece and develop a collaborative project with you, the students. This cohort will meet with the artist in person when they visit Yale and will continue working while the artist completes their piece in their home studio. Students who participate in this cohort will receive a stipend of $200. Click here to sign up. Contact Aviva Green with any questions.
  • Judaism and Theatre Series – weekly starting September 12th 
    • Nine weeks of learning covering the intersections of theater and Judaism facilitated by YC junior, Catherine Alam-Nist followed by a two-week rehearsal process for a staged reading to be presented at Slifka.

High Holy Days 2022 – 5783

Shanah Tovah

If you have questions about times and locations of services, please email

We can’t wait to celebrate the High Holidays, welcoming in the new year of possibility and learning together. Slifka Center is holding Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox services, plus full holiday meals and a variety of learnings and programs. For security and COVID-compliance, service locations will be provided upon registration. Full vaccination will be required for all participating adults. To purchase tickets for the services, click here

September 25-26/7: Rosh Hashanah services

Reform: Evening service 9/25: 6:30pm, morning service 9/26: 10am-1pm

Conservative: Evening service 9/25: 6:30pm,  Morning services 9/26 and 9/27: 9:30am-1pm

Orthodox: Evening services 9/25 and 9/26: 6:30pm, morning services 9/26 and 9/27: 9am-1:30pm

Meals: Night 1&2 Rosh Hashanah Dinner- 8-10pm

End of Rosh Hashanah Dinner- 5pm


Rosh Hashanah:

  • Come get all of your questions answered about High Holiday Services. Find out what to expect when walking into Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services!
    • Friday Sept. 16th at 3pm at Slika
  • Pre-Rosh Hashanah ‘Taste of Apples and Honey’
    • Friday Sept. 23rd at 12pm on Cross Campus
  • Tashlich:  Monday September 26th at 3:30pm

Join us for the ritual on the first day of Rosh Hashanah in which we symbolically cast our sins away in a running body of water.

  • Reverse Tashlich: Sunday October 2nd at 1:30pm

In partnership with Tikkun Hayam; Repair the Sea, Slifka will be taking part in the 5th annual international Reverse Tashlich, an international Jewish community waterfront cleanup. Reverse Tashlich is a modern ritual of a local cleanup the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur grounded in the Jewish ethical principle of bal tashchit, do not destroy. This year we will be working with the Mill River Trail project.

To purchase tickets for services, click here.


Yom Kippur October 4-5

Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Kol Nidrei services 10/4, Morning services including Yizkor, followed by afternoon and concluding services 10/5

Pre-fast meal- Starting at 4:30pm 

  • “The Long Work of Forgiveness”: Post-Kol Nidrei Community Learning with R’ Jason Rubenstein, 8:30pm October 4 in the Sylvia Slifka Chapel (2nd floor)

Arias Break-fast – 10/5 at 7pm, free for all.

Slifka Center wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the following Endowment Funds which support High Holy Days at Slifka Center:

The Robert ’59 and Louise Arias Yom Kippur Break-Fast Endowment

Frank Bernstein ’61 Family Music Endowment

The Fleischer Passover and High Holy Days Endowment

The Bernard and Norma Lytton Apples and Honey Kiddush Fund

Questions? Please contact