Shabbat is one of the greatest gifts in the Jewish tradition. In the busy life of Princeton students, Shabbat is an oasis in time where you can gather with friends, slow down, relax and appreciate what you have. To be able to do this with hundreds of Princeton students is incredible. The energy at the CJL on Friday nights is unparalleled. Shabbat is a time when you see one of the greatest strengths of our community: our diversity. Nearly two hundred students—a diverse cross-section of Princeton, including Jewish and non-Jewish students—enjoy Shabbat dinner together every Friday night.
The CJL offers services for students of varying backgrounds of observance. We're a student-centered organization and students lead services. We are fortunate to have three rabbis—Reform, Conservative and Orthodox—on staff with robust resources at their disposal to support all students. We also encourage students to explore and experiment as they define what it means for them to be Jewish at Princeton.
There are many meaningful ways to participate in prayer at the CJL.
Kesher (Reform) - Friday nights and holidays
Koach (Conservative) - Friday nights and holidays
Conservative Shabbat morning minyan - Saturday mornings
Yavneh (Orthodox) - Daily
Jewish Meditation Group - Tuesdays
Namer (partnership) - 2-3 Friday nights per semester
Zamru (musical) - - Monthly Friday nights
Holiday meals - whether Rosh Hashanah dinner or Passover seder - are a centerpiece of celebration for many Princeton students, especially for students from families that emphasize a cultural Jewish background. These gatherings are an incredible experience for all participants. Our Passover seders, for example, are student-run and have hundreds of participants. For many students, a holiday meal at the CJL is like being at home, but instead of a parent or grandparent running things, the students get to take the lead.
For others, services are central for observing the holidays year round. From dancing with the Torah on Simchat Torah to reading the megillah on Purim, the CJL offers special services for every holiday. Hundreds celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by participating in one of the three campus services (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox) sponsored by the Center for Jewish Life. We value the participation of the University community - our students, faculty and staff - as well as alumni, parents, and community members from the Princeton area. We believe this coming together of University and community greatly enhances the sanctity and power of the High Holidays at Princeton.
More details will be posted here in the weeks leading up to High Holidays and Passover.
Princeton University is proud to have an eruv, a boundary around the campus and the town enabling observant Jewish students and faculty to fully enjoy Shabbat on campus. Map of Princeton's eruv.