Orthodox Life at Penn

With approximately 350 students, Penn has one of largest and most active Orthodox communities. With tons of shiruim, minaynim, and programs, there’s always something to do.


Many students eat together Friday night at Hillel, and some students make private meals as well. Once a month Penn Hillel has a program called PHridays that brings 400+ students together to eat in the kosher dining hall. On Friday night there is occasionally an oneg or tisch.

There are numerous education and social opportunities that occur on Shabbat for Orthodox students. Students give Divrei Torah on Friday night and on Shabbat morning, and a graduate student gives a short Sefer Hachinuch Shiur following services Shabbat morning.

Following morning services there is a community wide Kiddush, and Seudah Shlishit is intercommunal as well. Students sing and one of the students gives a Dvar Torah. There are often special speakers, guest lecturers, learning opportunities and scholars in residence on Shabbat.

There is an Eruv that extends over the entire university and hospital area.


Orthodox students at Penn live in many places all over campus. The largest concentration of Orthodox students is in High Rise North, or Rodin College House, which is directly across from the Hillel building and houses anywhere from 50-75 Orthodox students on the lower floors. Many upperclassmen live in houses off campus, and many freshmen live in mandated freshman housing all over campus (though mostly on the Quad and Hill House).

Kosher Dining

Penn offers a kosher meal plan as part of the university meal plan, and there is a kosher dining hall located in the Hillel building. The kosher dining hall serves lunch and dinner every day except on Sunday, when it is closed. In addition to the full service cafeteria, there are various packaged kosher goods such as fresh sandwiches available for sale in the kosher dining hall and in other locations and dining halls around campus. The dining hall has a Mashgiach Temidi and Kashrut supervision is provided by the Va’ad of Philadelphia.