Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hillel?
Which campuses are affiliated with sf hillel?
Our building is closest to SF State's campus and historically our program was just at State. But we're a multi-campus, city-wide Hillel! There are campuses with Hillel-supported student communities and dedicated professional support (SF State, USF, UC Hastings and UCSF) but students from every campus in the city belong to our community and can join in the fun. If you have questions about how to get involved, connect with our Student Life Team
What does Hillel offer
Experiences and relationships that help students of all backgrounds meet new friends, develop identity, and build community. Hillel’s student leaders and professional staff provide meaningful opportunities and create space for students to celebrate, hang out, travel, give back and learn. To see what we offer more specifically, browse our What We Do pages.
What does it mean to be involved
We count every person who participates in our experiences as a member of our Hillel community. We charge no membership fees and most of our local events and initiatives are free for students.
Who comes to San Francisco Hillel?
All kinds of students. Women, men, gender-queer and non-gendered individuals. Gay, bi, straight and trans people. Orthodox Jews, Reform Jews, atheist Jews, yogi Jews. Friends and partners who aren’t Jewish but like what we're doing.
What if I’m only Jew-ish, emphasis on the ish? I call myself a cultural Jew/agnostic Jew/atheist Jew/Jew from an interfaith family?
That’s cool, you’re in the majority! Most Jewish college students in San Francisco connect to their identity through culture, and are still deciding how they'll relate to Judaism as a rich wisdom tradition. There's no such thing as a "bad Jew" here. We accept everyone where they are, and, encourage everyone to explore more. We hope you'll join us in digging into the deep stuff, like spirituality, ritual, and life’s big questions. But the end of the day, our mission is to help you decide what your relationship to Jewishness is, not impose anything on you.
What if I/my partner/roommate/friend is not Jewish?
Everyone, Jewish or not, is welcome at Hillel. We don't care about your background or previous experiences. We do care about bringing awesome people together who are open to building community and doing Jewish things together. As a pluralistic, egalitarian group, your brand of Jewish is yours to name here. All we ask is you accept the diversity in practice and identity you will encounter among our community members.
Are you egalitarian?
Yes. Folks of all identities and backgrounds have equal opportunity to lead here.
Are you LGBTQ+ friendly?
Is your space ADA accessible?
Our Hillel house is an awesome space for students, but it comes with stairs. We are committed to inclusion, and are able to make alternate event accommodations with advance notice. If you require accessibility support, contact us and we'll explore solutions together. All of Hillel's on-campus events are ADA accessible. We deeply regret the exclusion and barrier our stairs cause.
I don't know anyone, and it seems like a tight community. How can I meet people?
Most of the close friends you’ll see at Hillel didn't know each other a year ago! Getting comfortable starts with simply showing up. And, we know that can still be overwhelming, so we're here to help ease your way in. Let us know you're coming, and a student or professional will meet you beforehand and show you around. Our Shabbat experiences are a great way to meet new friends and see what we’re about.
Tell me about the food situation. Are you kosher?
Our space is kosher-style. We only serve kosher meat, and we don’t permit treif (ritually-forbidden foods like pork and shellfish) in our building. If we're serving animal products we'll always have vegetarian and vegan options. If you have further kashrut questions or other dietary needs, send us an email.
So are you Reform, Orthodox, Conservative or what?
SF Hillel is a pluralistic Jewish community, made of individuals who grew up in and belong to a wide variety of Jewish movements. We are not aligned with a particular denomination.
I want SF Hillel to co-sponsor my event. What should I do?
We love to work with partners to co-create meaningful experiences for students. If you're interested in proposing an event/lecture/speaker/idea, please fill out this form. Someone from our staff will be in touch about your opportunity. Two things to keep in mind:
- Our professional team works with our students to create student-centric and student-driven experiences. We plan our fall semester during the summer months, and our spring schedule over the December/January break. If your offering is for the present semester, it is possible but unlikely we will able to accommodate your request.
- The form takes 10-15 minutes to complete. We evaluate unsolicited opportunities by the seriousness with which the opportunity is presented to us, and the level of actual student interest in it.
I'M NEW TO SF AND LOOKING FOR HOUSING, SUGGESTIONS?
Welcome to our amazing (and expensive) city! We know it’s tough to find the right place, but we do not provide any housing services. If you’re looking for roommates, we recommend you get involved in our community and make new friends. Join our Facebook group and post what living arrangement you’re looking for.