What is the CJL?

May 12, 2020
Grace Masback

It can take some time to learn the Princeton lingo and there is a lot! One of the phrases you will hear with some frequency is the CJL or Center for Jewish Life. The CJL is a hub for student life on campus for Jewish and non-Jewish students alike. Here are some important information to know about the CJL and its role on campus before starting your Princeton experience.

  1. The CJL is open to everyone! One of the most common misconceptions about the CJL is that it is only open to Jewish students. While the CJL is an important home for Princeton’s vibrant Jewish community, it is a space open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. Lunch at the CJL is always packed with students there to enjoy the food.
  2. The CJL has an amazing, fully kosher dining hall….and the food is delicious! The dining hall is slightly smaller than other dining halls on campus. As a result, it has more opportunities for meals prepared especially for you. Moreover, eating at the CJL feels more intimate and familial, making it a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life at Princeton.
  3. The CJL is easy to find! Located right next to the Frist Campus Center, it is centrally located and is especially convenient for students in science and engineering classes. This means, that no matter where you are on campus the CJL isn’t far way.
  4. The CJL hosts weekly, highly popular Shabbat dinners on Friday nights and they are incredible and open to everyone. Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath, and dinners on Friday night are an important part of the Shabbat festivities. The dining hall is decorated, the food is very festive and it is an excellent change to enjoy a nice meal with friends while also getting a taste of an important part of Jewish culture.
  5. The CJL is a nice space to study. It’s cozy and full of great, often underrated study spots.
  6. The CJL hosts weekly study breaks! These are a great chance to enjoy delicious Kosher foods and snacks (think acai bowls) while chatting with friends.
  7. The CJL is an important resource for Jewish life on campus. The center works hard to provide Jewish students from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives a meaningful connection to their Jewish identity. From daily religious services, holiday programing, leadership opportunities, travel, and various clubs and groups the CJL serves as an important resource for Princeton’s diverse Jewish community.


Students eating outside on a terrace.

This is just a quick overview of the CJL and some of the ways that you can interact with the center. On a more personal note, the CJL has been an incredibly valuable resource for me and my Jewish identity. I am beyond grateful for the amazing community that I have been able to build through it. If you have questions about the CJL and its role on campus, please feel free to reach out to me.