Jewish Life at Duke

Shabbat & Holidays

Shabbat with Jewish Life at Duke

Every Friday evening, Jewish Life at Duke hosts pluralistic Kabbalat Shabbat Services. Rabbi Elana and student leaders lead the community in a Shabbat Shira (song session) with musical instruments at 5:30pm, followed by a candle lighting and Kabbalat Shabbat service at 6:00pm. After we share our Good Thing of the Week (a Duke favorite tradition!), we join together for a free, kosher communal Shabbat dinner around 7:00pm. Join us at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life for any or all of the evening. 

Shabbat dinner is always free for students, but registration is required. Please register weekly for Shabbat dinner at by Wednesday at noon for that Friday's dinner. 

Questions? Contact Rabbi Elana (

Shabbat dinners are always free thanks to the generosity of the Benenson family.


High Holidays 

Each year, the Duke Community can celebrate the High Holidays with Jewish Life at Duke. For Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, both Reform and Conservative-Style services are offered at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life. 

We also offer a shofar blast at the Bryan Center Plaza and Tashlich at Duke Gardens. Additionally, we offer free holiday meals for students including Rosh Hashanah dinner, pre-fast dinner, and Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast at the Freeman Center. Registration for meals is required, but all holiday meals are FREE for students.

Questions? Contact Rabbi Elana

Please note: All services are free of charge to students and do not require prior registration, however, registration for meals is required.

Make a gift to support High Holiday programming.



Students are encouraged to visit the Freeman Center patio during Sukkot in order to fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah! The lulav and etrog will be in the Sukkah for students to shake, with the blessings printed up and handy. 

The Jewish Student Union and Jewish Life at Duke often provide fun, social programming for the community, such as decorating and meals in the sukkah, throughout the holiday. 

Sukkot programming is made possible through the generosity of the Freeman Family Program Fund. All meals or programs are free and open to all, first come first serve!

Learn more about Sukkot here.




The Jewish Student Union hosts an annual Latkapalooza party with latkes, jelly donuts, dreidel games, and entertainment for the entire Duke community. 

In 2020, we invited the Duke community to join us for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah as we lit candles virtually with our Duke community, featuring some very special guests including Jon Scheyer, Duke Men's Basketball Head Coach, Sally Kornbluth, Duke University Provost, Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Economics, and Vincent E. Price, 10th President of Duke University. You can view a playlist of some of our featured guests here!




As spring arrives in Durham, Passover does as well. JLD holds traditional, communal Seders on the first and second nights of Passover and supports students should they wish to host their own seders. The Freeman Center is home to an annual matzah brie meal during the week, and Kosher for Passover food is supplied around campus eateries all eight days. 

Host-Your-Own-Seder: Students who wish to host their own seder for friends or a student organization are encouraged to do so. Rabbi Elana Friedman provides training for the seder hosts and a kit is supplied with all of the essential seder goodies. Each year, Jewish Life at Duke facilitates approximately 20 student-hosted Seders, with groups like AEPI, the Duke Men’s Rowing Team, Duke’s Theater Club Hoof n’ Horn, and LGBTQ+ students having had Seders in the past. More than 650 individual students attend these Seders annually with the generous support of the Freeman Family Program Fund.