We are a student-run campus organization providing for Jewish students on campus. The organization is open to anybody who identifies as Jewish, either culturally or religiously, or anybody else interested in partaking in Jewish festivities and celebrations.
The Jewish Association is the central planning organization for Jewish Religious observances, social events, and tzedek projects for the Williams College community. Our primary goal is to create a strong, welcoming Jewish community on the Williams campus.
Check out this article by Miranda Cooper ’17 to learn what Jewish life is like at a small liberal arts college.
Below are a few frequently asked questions regarding WCJA.
Are you a Hillel?
We are a Hillel-affiliated campus organization, through Hillel’s Soref initiative. At Williams, though, we don’t use the Hillel “brand name.” We stick with Williams College Jewish Association, WCJA [wick-djuh].
How many Jewish students are there at Williams?
Approximately 225 students, that’s just over 10% of the 2000 undergraduates, identify as Jewish.
I’m not very religious. Will I still find a place in WCJA?
Yes! It doesn’t matter how observant you are or what “being Jewish” means to you, you are welcome in WCJA. We aim to host events and gatherings that appeal to all Jewish students on campus. WCJA is a pluralistic Jewish organization that hosts many cultural and educational activities along with religious events. Our main goal is to create a strong Jewish community on campus.
I come from an observant Jewish background. Will I find my place at WCJA?
Yes! It is not hard to keep kosher at Williams and keeping Shabbat is not a problem. WCJA hosts Shabbat services, dinner and lunch as well as a havdala service after Shabbat is over. It is possible to set up Shabbat-friendly dorm access, and the library is a great place to partake in serious Jewish learning. WCJA also celebrates all Jewish holidays and professors understand that observant students may need extensions during the holiday seasons.
Is there kosher food on campus?
Yes. The Jewish Religious Center kitchen is a kosher kitchen under the supervision of the Jewish Chaplain (Bob Scherr). Weekly Shabbat dinners are prepared in the kitchen by students trained in kashrut. The kitchen is also available for more regular use to those who would like to do so. During Passover, the kitchen is appropriately converted to serve the needs of those observing the holiday.
Additionally, the Grab and Go sandwich area in Paresky now serves kosher sandwiches. Swipe in as you normally would, take your drink/chips/fruit in the main area, and ask a dining services team member to direct you to the kosher sandwich area. There are kosher meats, cheeses, tuna fish, and egg salad from a local deli available for you to use!