UMass Amherst Religious and Spiritual Life

Religious and Spiritual Life at UMass Amherst
Photo of Chapel on UMass Amherst campus

Commencement 2014

Information for religiously-observant Jewish families
who are planning to attend commencement

The University has again made certain arrangements to help religiously observant Jewish families (and others) who are planning to attend Commencement activities on Friday and Saturday, May 9-10, 2014.

These accommodations include on-campus lodging within walking distance of all Commencement venues, and kosher meals at Hillel and Chabad. These meals may require advance reservation or payment; contact Hillel or Chabad for details.

The main undergraduate Commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 4:30pm, and the smaller School and College "senior recognition" ceremonies will be held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 8-10, 2014. (For details, follow the link to the University's main Commencement page; see "For more information" below)

HILLEL HOUSE, 388 N. Pleasant St, Amherst
For more information about meals and services at Hillel, please contact Rabbi Yosi Eisen at 413.835.0254 or by email at

CHABAD HOUSE, 30 N. Hadley Rd, Amherst
For more information about meals and services at Chabad, please contact Rabbi Chaim Adelman at 413.549.2008 or by email at

On-Campus Lodging

The University will provide low-cost lodging in the Southwest Residential Area, within walking distance of all commencement venues, on Friday and Saturday nights. The cost is $69 for one person or $$79 double occupancy. Rooms should be reserved well in advance (the deadline is Friday, April 11 at 5:00pm). Make your reservation early to ensure a room on a lower floor. Last year all available rooms were sold out before the deadline, so don't wait! (These rooms in Southwest are separate from the Campus Center Hotel, which may already be sold out.)

More information about lodging

Online room reservations (for on-campus rooms in residence halls).

Families who cannot use elevators for religious reasons may request rooms on the lower floors. Use the "Special Accommodations" box at the bottom of the online reservation form to indicate this need.

Metal keys will be provided for individual rooms, and the buildings themselves will remain unlocked, to avoid the need for electronic card access.

A cash deposit will be required for keys, which will be refunded upon check-out.
If necessary, you may arrange for late check-out on Saturday evening. (Indicate this need in the "Special Needs" box on the room reservation form.)

Kosher Meals and Services

Both HILLEL and CHABAD will provide kosher meals on Friday evening and Saturday. Arrangements for these meals must be made in advance, directly with Hillel or Chabad.

The schedule for minyans and meals at HILLEL is as follows:

Erev Shabbat (by prior arrangement)
7:45pm ... Orthodox service at Hillel
8:30pm ... Dinner ($15/person; free for UMass students)

Shabbat day (by prior arrangement)
Possible morning service
11-1pm ... Lunch at Hillel House

For more information about meals and services at HILLEL HOUSE, and to sign up and pre-pay for meals, please visit Hillel's commencement web page.

For more information about meals and services at CHABAD,
please contact Rabbi Chaim Adelman or call 413-549-2008.

For More Information

For more information about this year's commencement, including a detailed schedule of commencement activities, visit the University's commencement web page.

If you have any problems making arrangements for meals or lodging, please email or call Larry Goldbaum in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, (413) 545-9642. We will do our best to assist you.