For Jews who spend tens of thousands of dollars on Jewish day schools, high schools and gap-year programs, the thought of college tuition may be daunting. Is there a way to save money and still progress academically, all within an accommodating institution that offers a full Jewish environment? Bergen Community College (BCC), conveniently located in Paramus, has the answer.
BCC offers many opportunities for its Jewish students to take on leadership roles and participate in Jewish life. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey (JFNNJ) has established a Hillel at BCC that is open to all denominations of Jewish students. Director of Jewish Student Life Talia Mizikovsky explained that BCC is a home to Jews from diverse backgrounds, including a significant Orthodox population.
She said, “Located in the heart of Bergen County’s large Jewish community, it’s a great option for students who are attracted to BCC’s specialty programs, financial benefits and flexible scheduling. Many Jewish students find it’s a great segue to finding their next step in life and go on to attend Rutgers, NJIT and other regional schools.”
Mizikovsky coordinates weekly lunchtime events, with kosher food served, in addition to “lunch and learns” and a monthly schedule of events on and off campus. Social events include concerts, movie nights and trips.
The Federation provides volunteer options for students as well. The Hillel even has Jewish faculty advisors to ensure that Jewish students are accommodated. The Hillel reaches out to Jewish students to help when it comes to missing class for holidays by advocating for deadline and test extensions, or just to connect.
Bergen Community College also partners with other organizations such as the Chabad of Teaneck, StandWithUs and the ADL to offer students learning opportunities, internships and conferences. Together with JFNNJ there is the opportunity to join two Birthright trips every year, as well as the Onward Israel internship in Tel Aviv. BCC hopes to initiate a free bi-monthly Hebrew class this fall.
In addition to offering an inclusive Jewish life, BCC’s 142 different degrees and certifications make the school a great option. A Jewish student attending BCC can expect to be immersed in Jewish life while participating in a strong learning experience not far from home.
Visit https://www.jfnnj.org/hillel/ for more information.
By Racheli Herzfeld
Racheli Herzfeld is a graduate from Ma’ayanot who returned from studying in Midreshet Lindenbaum this past year and is working as a summer intern for The Jewish Link