Jewish Life at Duke

About Us

Jewish Life at Duke (JLD), in the simplest of terms, serves as home away from home for students; we pride ourselves on providing a welcoming community for students to explore their identity, celebrate their culture, and engage with Judaism in a real and tangible way. With a strong population of driven and devoted students, Jewish Life at Duke offers an ever-expanding breadth of opportunities for students both on campus, and off. Whether they’re enjoying a home-cooked Shabbat dinner at the Freeman Center, or road tripping in the Deep South, students get to develop a passion and knowledge for the Jewish community while investing themselves within it.

We are a tight-knit, diverse and inclusive community who benefit from the shared and learned experiences of one another. Jewish Life at Duke strives for this sense of multi-faceted Jewish community where all are welcome, and all are cared for. We offer programming to fulfill our students’ evolving social, cultural, and educational needs to allow students to explore Judaism on their own terms. Students have ample opportunity to take on leadership roles whether it be starting a new student group, leading Shabbat services, or hosting their own Passover Seder. Through community building, collaborative initiatives, leadership opportunities, and educational experiences, JLD encourages every Jewish student to live a life inspired by Jewish values.

If you haven’t been to the Freeman Center for Jewish Life yet, we think you ought to come check us out: grab dinner in our Kosher dining hall, watch a movie on the big screen TV, have a study group in the library or join us for Shabbat. We know you’ll feel right at home. Our doors are always open to you - come on in and see what’s in store.

Mission and Vision

The mission of Jewish Life at Duke is to inspire Jewish students through community building, collaborative ventures, leadership opportunities, and educational experiences.

The vision of Jewish Life at Duke is a Duke community where student growth is rooted in Jewish values, ethics, and traditions.

Freeman Center For Jewish Life

Located at the corner of Campus Drive and Swift Avenue on Duke's Central Campus, the Freeman Center has been the hub of all things Jewish on campus since its opening in 1999. Students study in the classrooms and take advantage of the on-site E-Print station while also hanging out in the Paresky Lounge, enjoying the game tables in the Tabak Family Commons Area, and holding meetings in the Sassower Library. Shabbat and Holiday services are held upstairs in the Levenson-Lerner Sanctuary, which also doubles as an event space.

The Freeman Center is also home to Durham’s only kosher kitchen. A home-style kosher dinner buffet is available for Duke Students Monday through Thursday from 5:00pm-8:00pm, at Henry’s Place in Heyman Dining Hall within the Freeman Center. These weekday dinners are part of the DukeCard meal plan and are also open to the public for $16.50. Friday evening Shabbat dinners served free of charge. The kitchen also prepares and packs kosher lunches that students can pick up at various locations on campus. Open to the community at large, the kosher kitchen is a great option for halal, vegetarian, and vegan diners.

The Freeman Center for Jewish Life is accessible to students with a Duke ID between 8:00am and 11:00pm and Jewish Life at Duke staff is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

For more information regarding renting the Freeman Center for Jewish Life, please contact Renee Moore, Manager, Operations and Events.

Triangle Jewish Community

Students often find themselves locked into the “college bubble,” but for those looking to engage with the larger Jewish community at hand, there are a multitude of organizations to get involved with. The Durham area is fortunate to have a large, supportive, and active Jewish community for students to participate in.

Jewish Life at Duke Advisory Board

The Advisory Board for Jewish Life at Duke University is comprised of alumni, parents and friends of Jewish Life at Duke who provide advice, assistance, and support to Jewish Life at Duke on campus and in their home communities.  If you are interested in learning more about the Advisory Board, please contact Rebecca Simons, Director for Jewish Life at Duke.