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Hillel is one of the largest and most well-known organizations that offer numerous leadership and relationship-building opportunities for UCLA Jews. Their mission is to create meaningful Jewish experiences based on each individual Bruins’ needs. They have weekly Shabbat dinners as well as their own Kosher dining hall, O.K.T., that happily accepts meal plan swipes. Other unique options include ShabbAW (Shabbat Around Westwood) which provides Hillel students with their own challah, grape juice, and candles in the hopes of encouraging them to host their own dinner for friends. They’re connected to tons of other Jewish clubs on campus like PCH (Persian Community at Hillel), TUSH (Transfer Undergraduate Students of Hillel), and many more. They have exclusive relationships spanning from talks with Holocaust survivors to the on-campus Jewish a cappella Jewkbox. You’re also given the opportunity to meet with other clubs like Challah for Hunger and BIPAC (Bruins for Israel Public Affairs Committee). And don’t forget to check out their Opportunities page on their website to get up-to-date information on Jewish happenings at local synagogues, Jewish scholarships, and many more.
Chabad’s mission is to provide a place for all Jewish students to express themselves freely without any judgment. Chabad creates a warm and welcoming space for members to socialize, get informed about anything Jewish related, and even question their faith. Their motto is “Your Jewish Home Away From Home” and that stands true because of their warm and endearing presence on campus. They focus on specifics such as the philosophical movement with which their platform was named after or the seven Noahide laws, but can also be a place to go to if you ever feel lonely or scared and are in need of friendship. They hold weekly Shabbat Friday night dinners at 7:00 p.m. and Shabbat Saturday lunches at 1:00 p.m. where all are welcome!
JAM (Jewish Awareness Movement):
JAM is an on-campus club that provides services involving numerous other campuses throughout Southern California. Their main goal is to help students get more involved in the Jewish community at UCLA and to help young Jews meet each other. Their motto is: “Inspiring, Affecting, Changing Lives,” and they offer useful information on upcoming trips to Israel, Poland, and Washington D.C. to help further the understanding of students’ Jewish heritages. They regularly host Shabbat dinners, offer access to JMED ( Jewish Pre-Health Club), and have a weekly Challah Bake Sale that gives everyone the opportunity to mingle with free dinner and games.
JLIC (Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus):
JLIC is an organization run by the Orthodox Union that originated when two Bruin Alumni, Rabbi Aryeh and Sharona Kaplan, decided to further express their support of the Jewish community on campus and help expand it. They’re described as a group that has aided thousands of Jewish students in a better understanding of the Torah as well as exposing them to Jewish life on campuses across the U.S.A., Canada, and Israel. They work alongside Hillel, offer their own Shabbat and Kosher dinners, and even have housing on the UCLA campus that includes the Bayit. They offer a monthly newsletter that highlights certain topics such as alumni spotlights and interviews, the best places to find kosher food near campus, and how to advance leadership skills. Their 5 “hallmarks” that are offered and adjusted on most campuses are geared towards relationship building, Jewish learning programs and activities, infrastructure, modeling, and student leadership.
The Bayit is a non-profit Jewish organization run through their co-op on Landfair Ave. that encourages housemates and friends the chance to socialize through leadership activities, communal parties and dinners, and individual growth powered by mutual support. It’s located right across the street from The Hill and is a good place to get in contact with former members to form bonds and connections. Their main focus is to “help strengthen Jewish identity while helping improve on leadership skills, mutual support, and respect for Jewish pluralism.” They’re all about community involvement and throw a weekly Shabbat while also having occasional small parties throughout the school year to help build strong friendships. The house has yearly applications for spots in singles, doubles, and triples. Completely kosher meals are often provided along with communal activities and chores to make it a fun and clean place for all!
JMED is a Pre-Health club on campus that gives Jewish UCLA students access to gain connections and resources towards research, networking, shadowing and more. Members are given the opportunity to work alongside Jewish professionals in the medical field. They offer fellowships and internships with top medical facilities that can help improve their skills and offer exclusive insight into the medical world through unique relationships. An important part of their main goal is to provide great opportunities and leadership skills within the Jewish community that specifically works towards medical professionals. They’re very active in the medical community, welcome new members with open arms and are willing to offer any advice or insight into their organization. You can find them at 533 Landfair Ave.
Alpha Epsilon Pi:
AEPi is the notable Jewish fraternity that specifically offers students opportunities to strengthen their social and cultural circles. They focus less on the political and religious aspects of their Jewish heritage and spend more time on the brotherhood and community around them. It’s a place for the Jewish men of UCLA to form an allegiance while offering resources, education, and training to develop leadership skills. They have connections to Jewish internships, chapter conferences, scholarships, and more. Their official philanthropy is centered around their Repair the World Fund which raises money to support organizations like The Jaffa Institute, United Hatzalah, and the Israel Cancer Research Fund.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi:
SigmaAEPi is the unique Jewish sorority that boasts one of the highest GPAs of the Sigma chapters nationwide. They’ve created a space for women who are interested in practicing sisterhood, leadership skills, and scholarly improvement. They guarantee at least one chair position and one executive board position for each sister that focuses on time management, event planning, financial management and much more. They offer annual weekend retreats in places as beautiful as Malibu and regularly socialize with events such as brunches, Kosher cooking, and quarterly formal dances.
SSI (Students Supporting Israel):
SSI is a well-known group dispersed across campus whose main mission is to inform their listeners of all things relating to Israel, whether it be cultural or political. Their main focus as listed on their website states: “Our mission is to be a clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses, and to support students in grassroots pro-Israel advocacy.” Students are encouraged and empowered to speak up and ask questions in the support of the state of Israel as well as to stay informed on the current going-ons in the country.
BFI (Bruins for Israel):
BFI is another pro-Israel club that focuses primarily on educating students on the political and cultural side of Israel. They advocate for a two-state solution, meaning separate states between Israel and Palestine, and “allow students to reach their own conclusions on the Jewish nation” by providing a place for people to ask questions without being judged. They offer intriguing and informative articles, as well as Q&A’s to debunk any misleading information out there for any students interested. They also have their own organization within that stands for saying “NO to BDS”. This is the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctioning of the state of Israel and offers students the opportunity to show their support while boasting an impressive list of UCLA sources and outside sources who support the notion with letters of action.