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Life Lessons 014: A Reform Home on Campus

KESHER (Hebrew for "connection"), the Union for Reform Judaism's campus program, supports Reform chavurot (groups) on campuses and partners and consults with Reform congregations, Hillel professionals, and campus organizations--all in the effort to ensure that students have solid Jewish communal connections in college. Here's how to connect with KESHER:

  • Packing for College--Where Does Judaism Fit?: This "Jewish College-Prep" course (available at covers such practical matters as choosing a college, responding to commonly asked questions about Judaism, and advocating for Israel on campus. In addition, a special rituals section assists families and congregations in celebrating this important life passage.

  • KESHER Directory: The online KESHER Directory (at links high school students with more than 1,200 Reform college students at 400+ campuses across North America who will answer questions about life on campus and may be available to host a campus visit. Students who volunteer to be included in the directory receive a free subscription to Reform Judaism magazine at college.

  • Starting a Reform Group on Campus: The "Making a KESHER" booklet (available either by e-mailing or calling 212-650-4070) teaches students everything they will need to know about starting a KESHER/Reform community on campus: how to lead services, plan programs, publicize events, and more. Service templates, song sheets, and other resources are all available at

  • Reform on Campus (ROC) Grants: Through the support of the North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods, KESHER offers grants to Reform student groups to purchase needed resources and create quality social programming and Shabbat learning on campus. For info:

  • Reform Leadership on Campus: Trained and supported by the KESHER staff, Reform Jewish Liaisons (RJLs) coordinate KESHER and Hillel religious, educational, and social programs that promote Reform Jewish life on campus. To learn more:

  • Carmel Study in Israel: Carmel (, a yearlong Reform learning and living college program in Israel for recent high school graduates, blends academic, informal, and tikkun olam learning and celebration for college-level academic credit.

  • KESHER Convention: At the annual KESHER Convention, workshops, lectures, and discussion groups teach students the skills to become Reform leaders on campus as they connect with their peers throughout North America. The next convention: October 27-29, 2006 at the University of Florida, Gainesville. For info:

  • Taglit-birthright israel: KESHER Israel Connection: Working with Taglit-birthright israel, KESHER sends Reform young adults (ages 18-26) to Israel for the first time on a FREE ten-day Reform Israel experience which includes visits to historical sites, hikes and outdoor adventures, study programs, egalitarian worship, and more. For info:

  • KESHER Argentina Ambassadors: During this ten-day travel and service learning program, college students who've just finished their spring semester work hand-in-hand with college students from Argentina on a variety of social action projects while exploring Argentina's geography and culture. For info:

  • KESHER Leadership Training Seminar: Each spring, this student-planned and run program provides new student leaders with the skills--in executive leadership, marketing, religious life, social action, Israel, and more--to establish and/or strengthen Reform life on campuses. For info:

--URJ Kesher College Department

Virtual Communities

  • Staying in Touch Network: Congregational College Committee chairs and other synagogue leaders share ideas for connecting with college students and receive KESHER programming suggestions and updates.

  • Reform Jewish Liaisons Network: Reform campus leaders exchange successes, brainstorm challenges, learn about new student opportunities on campus, and more.

  • RJ Campus Network: Students discuss campus life, learn about national programs, and connect with friends.

  • Reform-Friendly Hillel Professionals Network: Hillel professionals with Reform ties share ideas and discuss common concerns.

  • Kesher Israel Connection Alumni Network: Alumni of the Reform Taglit-birthright israel program stay in touch and receive information about upcoming Israeli events and trips.

To sign up e-mail


Union for Reform Judaism.