Check out our video to get a glimpse of Jewish life at Queens College!
OU-JLIC at Queens College
OU-JLIC was established at Queens College in the Fall semester of 2012. The inaugural couple, Rabbi Robby and Shoshana Charnoff, have been hard at work building up Jewish life at Queens College ever since! With over 1,000 Orthodox students at Queens College, the Orthodox population at QC ranges the entire spectrum – centrist, modern, yeshivish, liberal, ultra, social, and everything in between, with significant numbers of each constituency. As such, OU-JLIC offers a wide variety of Torah learning opportunities, programs, and social events to service all of the diverse interests amongst the Orthodox population. Additionally, the Charnoffs have been instrumental in “turning a commuter campus into a Queens College Jewish community.” There is now a full Shabbat program every week, holiday celebrations on campus, and a growing on-campus student community in the surrounding area. Explore and see all of the amazing opportunities here at OU-JLIC Queens College!
Student involvement is at the heart and soul of every campus, and Queens College is no exception. Hillel Club is a student run organization that takes the reigns of Jewish life on campus. Run by an a visionary E-Board consisting of a student elected President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, these students shape the energy and atmosphere of Hillel. Students can get involved in E-Board or one Hillel Clubs many committees, including Shabbat, Holidays, Chessed, Social Justice, Residential and Community Life, Religious Life, Social Events, Intercollegiate Events, Engagement and more!
Shabbat at QC is the place to be! Every week we begin with a lively Carlebach-style Kabbalat Shabbat in the beautiful “Patio Room,” located right outside the Kosher Café. Rabbi Charnoff delivers a short and powerful drasha before Ma’ariv. The next morning, student come together in Hillel’s brand new Beit Midrash for an uplifting davening, including a student d’var Torah. Shacharit is always followed by a yummy Entenmann’s kiddush! Later on in the afternoon, students pile into the Charnoff Home for OU-JLIC’s signature Seudah Shlishit, complete with home-made food, socializing, singing, and uplifting words of Torah. Shabbat wraps up with ma’ariv and a musical havdalah in the Charnoff Home. There are also students in charge of Shabbat hospitality, so any student who wants to stay in for Shabbat is guaranteed to be set up with a place to sleep and a meal to join if he or she wants to get in on this amazing Shabbat experience.
Additionally, Hillel runs three Shabbatonim every semester with a fun theme that runs throughout the Shabbat. On these weeks, Hillel offers on-campus meals and additional programming on top of the regular Shabbat schedule. Shoshana Charnoff also runs a Ramban Parsha Class after Shacharit.
Finally, on the first and last week of each semester Hillel runs a Free Friday Night Dinner, where, you guessed it, everyone is invited to a Free Friday Night Dinner in the Kosher Café! Sometimes reaching close to 400 students, you really get a feel for the grandness and diversity of the Queens College Jewish Community as you meet new students, catch up with friends, and enjoy and great Shabbat meal.
There are a slew of excellent kosher dining options at Queens College! On campus, the Dairy Stop offers a great selection of hot, fresh dairy meals every day in addition to sushi, snacks, and many other delicious food choices. Jeff, who runs the Dairy Stop, is guaranteed to provide you not only with great food, but also a good laugh. While the Dairy Stop is housed in the Midway Court Dining Hall, it is colloquially referred as the “Kosher Cafe” as the dining hall is always packed with a myriad of Jewish students. Additionally, Queens College is around the corner from Main Street, which has a plethora of delicious Kosher food establishments. There you can find Carlos and Gabby’s, L’Bella Pizzeria, Sushi Fussion, and Mechi’s Deli Counter at Seasons, just to name a few. All establishments are certified kosher under the Vaa’d Harabonim of Queens (VHQ).
While often considered a commuter college, there is actually a strong, vibrant, and quickly growing on-campus community at Queens College. This is due to the Summit, the Queens College on-campus dormitory, and the many students who live in apartments in the nearby surrounding area. At this time there are around 30 Orthodox students living in the Summit. Summit rooms include a full kitchen, common area, two bathrooms, and a choice of four single bedrooms or two double bedrooms. Incredibly accommodating to Orthodox Jewish needs, the Summit allows students to request “kosher rooms” in order to be placed with other Orthodox students to make them feel more comfortable. Additionally, there are hundreds of Orthodox students living in rented apartments within a 15 minute walk of the college. OU-JLIC has already been successful in broadening the scope of the student community to include these apartments, developing a large and vibrant “on-campus” Orthodox community.
“As the OU-JLIC educators at Queens College, Rabbi Robby and Shoshana Charnoff have profoundly impacted my religious life on campus. Every Shabbos they open their home to students for a meaningful Seudah Shlishit with singing, food, and Torah. It is a great opportunity for us to come together and share a religious experience that ends Sahbbos on the highest of notes and prepares us for the upcoming week. The Charnoffs and OU-JLIC have also provided a warm and comfortable atmosphere for deep discussion and Torah learning on campus. There are constant OU-JLIC shiurim and chavrutot at Hillel and they are always planning for further events and holidays. OU-JLIC has also been open to a diverse crowd of Jews at Queens College and has united people together from various backgrounds. I am honored to have the Charnoffs as the OU-JLIC educators at Queens College and I am looking forward to sharing many more amazing experiences with them.” -Yehuda Kupferman ’15
“OU-JLIC at Queens College has changed the face of the Orthodox community here on campus. While providing a framework for Jewish learning and growth, by being inspirational leaders who are open and caring, our OU-JLIC educators have helped cultivate a campus where I can, and am encouraged to, reach my potential. They have given me the opportunity to continue with my learning and have meaningful Jewish experiences throughout my college career. Watching the orthodox community of Queens College grow over the years, there is no doubt what an amazing impact they have had on hundreds of students already.” -Ilana Barta ’14