What We Do
Slifka Center nurtures Jewish life at Yale and empowers Yale students to grow as Jewish adults.
Slifka seeks to support Jewish life and Jewish students in ways that are meaningful to them.
Slifka’s activities are student-driven with support and mentoring from our professionals.
Slifka embraces its role at Yale today built on the foundations of the past.
Slifka Center nurtures Jewish life at Yale, cultivating cultural, spiritual, religious, and intellectual experiences that enrich the lives of Yale students in a way that endures. We empower Yale students to grow as Jewish adults, connect with each other across personal histories, and drive compassionate and welcoming community — all inspired by Jewish ideas, traditions, and values.
To get a good sense of Slifka Center, you’ll want to understand our philosophy, methodology and context. You can see our Impact Overview from the 2021-2022 academic year in the graphic below.
A student-centered, student-led community
At Slifka Center, students create a community of meaning with and for one another. Transcending our dynamic programming, all Slifka Center initiatives are developed out of student needs and interests to ultimately serve the student body.
A portal to transformative ideas and conversations
A hundred generations of Jewish wisdom come alive in open-hearted conversations guided by teachers who care as deeply as students do. In classes, trips, and conversations, intellectual partnership and spiritual seeking fuse with, and elevate, one another as we write the next chapter of the Jewish tradition — together.
A convener across difference
Slifka Center welcomes and values all students across diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and identities. We are as deep and diverse as the Yale student body. Opportunities for self expression and interpersonal growth abound — across an unlimited spectrum of Jewish interests, passions, and ideas.
A comfortable place to eat and spend time
During weekday lunch and Shabbat dinner alike, food and friendship go hand-in-hand in Slifka Center’s dining hall. Grab a sandwich to go, or stay for hours.
A point of contact with caring mentors
Profound, heartfelt conversations with students are the core of our staff’s work — no concern is too weighty or too trivial. Our doors are always open, literally and figuratively, to accompany students on their journeys across all starting points and Destinations.
A representative of and advocate for the Jewish community at Yale
We represent the Jewish community to the Yale faculty and administration, advocating for students, professors, and alumni — including confronting every manifestation of antisemitism.
Warm celebrations of Shabbat and Jewish holidays
- Israel themed Shabbat
- Passover Saders
- Matza Baking
- Tu Bishvat Planting on the Terrace
- Fresh Latka Fry and Hanakkah Celebration
- Yom Ha’atzmaut Party
Engaging explorations of Jewish texts and ideas
- Torah for All Classes
- Wholy Queer
- Jewish Learning Fellowship
- Intro to Judaism classes
- Jewish Learning Fellowship
- Abortion and Reproductive rights series
- Yeshivat Yale
- Medical Ethics
Welcoming meals in our kosher dining hall
- Famous Bagel brunch
- Donut Study breaks
- Challah & S’mores
- Yom Kippur Breakfast
- Festive holiday meals
Soulful expressions of Jewish religion and spirituality
- Regular services for Reform, Egalitarian, and Orthodox participants
- Soulful Nigunim Singing Circle
- Tu Bishvat Sader
Constructive opportunities to engage with Israel
- Kol Yisrael- Israel learning fellowship
- Travel to Israel
- Guest speakers discussing Israeli politics, beta-Israel community, Jewish values
- Taste of Memories- Yom Ha’Zikaron
Stimulating experiences with the arts
- Blanksteen Fellows exhibit their work
- Artist in residency program with student tutelage and exhibit
- Jewish Scribal Art Workshop
- Artist talks
- Student internships at the Jewish Museum
Productive actions to make the Jewish values of kindness and justice real in the world
- Reverse Tashlich
- Wildflower and herb garden
- Plants in building
- Jewish Leadership Training
- Resetting the Table Training
- Recreation Programs (mini-golfing, karaoke night, etc.)
Slifka Center advances the interests of Yale’s Jewish community in times of crisis and every day
- Interactions with Yale’s administration regarding antisemitic incidents
- Advocacy surrounding contestable campus speakers and programs
Slifka Center is the inheritor of a century of Jewish life at Yale, the product of generations of contributions by Jewish Yalies. Organized Jewish life began at Yale in 1913 with the Menorah Society, followed four years later by the first Jewish fraternities on campus. Yale Hillel was founded in 1941, bringing the national Hillel movement to New Haven. In 1959, Jewish students envisioned and created the Yale Kosher Kitchen, bringing Kosher food to Yale for the first time — arranged for and cooked by students themselves. Yale Hillel and the Kosher Kitchen operated separately in basement facilities on and off campus for decades until they came together under Slifka Center’s roof in 1995 — out of the basements and into the broad daylight of Wall Street on central campus.
Since 1995, many of the most creative and compassionate Jewish communal leaders have been a part of our community. Today’s Slifka Center embraces the legacies of being student-centered, pluralistic, and committed to Jewish culture and traditions. We provide the infrastructure and staff resources to partner with students in building a vibrant Jewish life at Yale built on understandings of Jewish living that inspire — helping students to make their lives richer and more meaningful.
Today, Slifka Center is not only the hub of Jewish life at Yale, but is also the primary representative of Jewish interests and concerns with the Yale Administration and others. As antisemitism rises across the globe and at Yale, Slifka provides training, consulting, and strategic thinking to the Yale community regarding ways to support and defend Jewish students where necessary, and raise the voices of Jewish and other minority groups in times of need.
Slifka Center is a living expression of the idea that Jewish life and Yale are deeply resonant. By nurturing a rich student life, we aim to instill a lifelong dedication to Jewish practice, values, and community.
We can’t do this without you.
Slifka Center’s efforts to enrich the lives of Jewish Yalies are successful thanks to the generosity of our alumni, parents and friends. Hosting programs, supporting our staff team, and operating our building, all requires your support, and we are grateful for your care and concern for the Jewish community at Yale. Slifka Center is an independent non-profit that does not receive direct financial support from Yale.