What happens on holidays?

Hillel SV provides weekly Shabbat dinners and special programs to celebrate the Jewish holidays.

Shabbat Dinners?

Weekly Shabbat dinners are held at the Hillel house. Kosher meals are cooked by community members or by the Hillel students. Many of the Shabbat dinners have a special theme (Jewish holiday related, guest speaker, Israel, etc).

Shabbat is a highlight at Hillel each week, and is among the most popular programs at Hillel of Silicon Valley.  Students from all five of our campuses, recent alumni, and young adults from the community gather at Hillel for a Jewish connection and a free meal. Shabbat dinners are an opportunity to see old friends and meet new friends—it’s a great experience for students. Services are also held once a month, as are Oneg Shabbats, where students can stay later for parties, karaoke, and game nights!

In the words of the students:

“The food and the company are the best! I usually only miss it if I am going somewhere else for Shabbat.”

“I think Shabbat dinners (at Hillel) are great! I don’t see a need to change anything.”

“I like the people. It is really a homey environment.”

“I like Hillel Shabbat dinners because you can hang with other Jews and have your weekend begin with friends.”

If you are interested in cooking for a Shabbat Dinner, or you would like to sponsor or co-sponsor a Shabbat dinner please call 408-286-6669


Holiday Programming:

Holidays provide a wonderful opportunity for connecting students with their Judaism.  They are filled with great recipes, ritual items, symbolism, and meaning.  Many of our students do not really understand the various holidays and have not celebrated them in their homes.  This segment of our programming elevates their Jewish literacy through informal Jewish education and increases student’s Jewish identification and involvement in Jewish communal life.

Programming focuses on three main areas:  promoting Jewish arts and culture, advancing Jewish knowledge, ideas, and values, and strengthening global Jewish community.

For holidays, we organize events that are at the Hillel House or sometimes on campus. We hold the events at a central location at the campus, this way everyone is exposed to Jewish culture.  They are planned and organized by Hillel’s staff and student interns.  Outside expertise are brought in to add depth and diversity.

Special programming may be offered for Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Purim, Passover, Yom HaShoah, Yom Ha’Atzmaut, and Rosh Hodesh.

Examples of programs that may be planned for the Jewish holidays include:

Sukkot:  Every year, we build a sukkah in our backyard with the help of student leaders and members of San Jose State’s AEPI fraternity. Once built, we hold programs such as Torah on Tap and Lunch and Learns inside of it. During the time it is up, that is  where our weekly Shabbat dinners are serviced. 

Chanukah:  Every year we hold an annual Chanukah party at our house. I preparation, students cook latkes that are served. To mark the holiday, we hold a Menorah lighting ceremony on San Jose State’s campus.

Tu B’Shvat Seder: The Tu B’Shvat Seder has been one of the most successful programs. At the seder, we celebrate the tradition and rituals of the holiday, and we will add an educational component about the environment.

Purim: In preparation for our annual Purim carnival on San Jose State’s campus, students bake hamentashen (triangle shaped cookies) in our kitchen. The following Shabbat is Purim themed, where students will dress up in their favorite costumes. 

Passover: Every year, we clean the kitchen in preparation for Pesach (Passover). Our students will often prepare food such as tasty matzo-lasagnas that they can enjoy during the week. We hold a beautiful Seder dinner annually at the Hillel house. We also sponsor Seders at some of our campuses.

Lag B’Omer: For the holiday of Lag B’Omer, we celebrate with a bbq outside in our backyard, where students enjoy playing games such as ping pong and cornhole.