Q: What is the Jewish student population at Trinity?
A: Over 10 percent of Trinity students are Jewish. The population of the entire student body is 2,240 and the Jewish population is somewhere around 250-300. This is an approximate number, because the students must self-identify to be counted, but anecdotally, at Hillel we interact with at least 250 Jewish students throughout the year.
Q: Is Trinity College affiliated with any religious group?
A: Trinity is an independent, non-sectarian college that welcomes students of all faiths.
Q: What is college life like for Jewish students at Trinity?
A: It is an exciting time to be a Jewish student at Trinity. Not only is Trinity one of only a few small liberal arts colleges to offer a major in Jewish studies, but it is also home to a breathtaking center for Jewish life, the Zachs Hillel House. Trinity’s commitment to Jewish life has invigorated students—Jews and non-Jews alike—to participate in activities centered on Jewish culture.
Q: What kinds of opportunities are available to students to develop as Jewish adults?
A: One of the goals at Hillel is to encourage students to strive for a balance of Jewish concerns that focuses on their spiritual growth and their personal connections to the wider community. Trinity students can participate in internships throughout the local Jewish community, including working with the Jewish Community Relations Council, the public affairs voice of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. Most major synagogues in the area welcome college students to teach in their religious schools.
Tzedek and Tikkun Olam are integral parts of the Hillel mission. Students take an active role in making a positive impact through volunteerism to benefit others through various programs. Just about everything we do has a "tzedek component." Some of our recent projects have included Alternative Spring Breaks to help impoverished communities in Uruguay and Argentina. Closer to home, we are involved in a volunteer program with a medical van that supplies primary care to people without access to health care in Hartford. Students themselves create interesting and varied programs that benefit the local community.
On campus, students are encouraged to take active roles in their own growth as Jews. They learn to lead Friday night services and write and deliver talks about the Parashat Ha’shavua, the weekly Torah portion. Students write and lead most holiday services, including High Holidays and the Annual Trinity Passover Seder. Students bring their ideas and creativity to Hillel in visual arts programs and through music.
Q: Are there kosher dining options at Trinity?
A: Yes, the Zachs Hillel House is a kosher facility. All meals and snacks served at Hillel are kosher. The new Kassow Hillel Kosher Eatery, a meat/parve station in the main dining hall, is under construction and will be open during the spring semester, 2012. In addition, kosher products and prepared foods are available at the Bistro and the Cave on campus.
Q: Does Trinity College have formal relationships with any study abroad programs in Israel?
A: Trinity offers several study abroad programs of particular interest to Jewish students. Trinity students may study at most approved exchange programs at Israeli universities including the Rothberg School at Hebrew University, where they will take courses in English or Hebrew with students from all over the world. Other programs, such as those offered by Tel Aviv University and the Technion in Haifa are also available to interested students. Trinity's Office of International Programs maintains a list of approved study-away program available to Trinity students.
The Taglit Birthright Israel program provides free trips to young Jewish people ages 18-26 who have never been on a peer group trip to Israel. Birthright Israel provides a free ten-day experience for qualifying applicants, and Hillel is committed to providing students with a safe and secure trip. Please refer to the national Hillel foundation Web site for more information at www.hillel.org
Trinity College Hillel has sponsored many Birthright trips in recent years for scores of students, including a joint Wesleyan/Trinity trip during winter break 2011 with Israel Experts.