The Jewish Students Association

1976-1983 Speakers of Religious Rituals and Political concerns, the Jewish Student Association

The Jewish Students Association, now housed in its own center, the Hopkins Hillel, has been actively involved on campus in a variety of activities since 1970s. Yet before going into the details of what was happening in JSA, we should try to picture the presence of the Jewish students on campus back in the 1980s.There used to be a kosher dining hall at the back of the Old Dorm (presumably the AMR I nowadays), whereas today, the kosher dining area is an integrated part of Fresh Food Café, the general student cafeteria.

Putting up a variety of events throughout the semesters, JSA became a thriving student organization in the 1970s. Student club publicity was very different in the 1970s without the Facebook events and email lists, which we often take for granted because they are extremely common and convenient. JSA members would have to hand design elaborate posters and brochures for their events. The Jewish Student Association placed an emphasis on the shared heritage of the group by organizing religious rituals and events, including Shabbat and Purim services. They had also knitted the group together with a Hebrew speaking table while arranging other social activities, such as bagel brunches, dancing nights and of course ice cream socials, which related the members to the wider student population as well.