Jewish Life

California Lutheran University is a special place with a supportive and growing community of Jewish students, faculty and staff. In other words, it’s a place where you’re welcomed and free to be you.

High holidays are respected, our Rabbi is a member of the campus ministry team and participates in weekly University Chapel services, and a wide variety of events sponsored by our Hillel Club make it easy to feel welcome and to make new friends.

Jewish life

Come One, Come All

My experience at Cal Lutheran has been awesome. The people here are beyond friendly and I have always felt welcomed, as if this is my home. In a way, it has become my home. It’s a very comfortable environment and being active in groups like Hillel has definitely helped me feel more content. Hillel gives me a community I can relate to. I can meet new people who are also Jewish, make friends in the process and be part of a creating a strong voice on campus.

Matt Waxman, Communication Major

We are a faith-based institution where all are welcome and encouraged to be themselves, declare proudly who they are and what they want to do.

Interfaith isn’t just a catchphrase or gimmick at Cal Lutheran, it’s a key part of who we are. Lutheran pastors, Catholic seminarians, a Rabbi and Muslim faculty can sit side by side in our Samuelson Chapel. Our students and faculty have won awards for their work in forming an Interfaith Allies group to heighten awareness of the many faiths and traditions represented in our campus community.

Through their work and others, we are proud to say our campus is one that promotes the interaction of religious, nonreligious and philosophical traditions. All students are encouraged to be a part of the dialogue, express their true selves and respect the values of their peers.

Hillel Club

I chose Cal Lutheran because of the strong academics, beautiful campus and wonderful people. I knew right away it was the right fit for me. In my time here, I have grown as a leader and team player from my participation in tennis and Hillel. Hillel has given me the opportunity to explore my Jewish roots in a relaxed environment while making lifelong friends. Being surrounded by people with a shared culture gives me a family away from home.

Rebecca Gold, Marketing Communication Major

Cal Lutheran’s Hillel Club is one of the most active and social clubs on campus. From Rosh Hashanah gatherings and Passover seders to movie nights and pumpkin carving, this is a group that honors old traditions while creating new ones.

In addition to regular social gatherings and activities, the group also strives to support the broader community and engage with the interfaith efforts on campus. Past events have included guest speakers from the Anti-Defamation League, music performances, Holocaust Remembrance activities and participation in the Walk to End Genocide.

With a four-member executive team, Hillel Club is also a chance for students to grow as leaders, individuals, and people of faith. Students have the opportunity to collaborate with Hillel International and attend conferences to meet peers from other universities and colleges.

Cal Lutheran’s Hillel Club is advised by Campus Rabbi Belle Michael and Professor Peter Carlson of Cal Lutheran’s Religion Department.

Community Support

I came to Cal Lutheran for the opportunity to nurture a strong, vibrant Jewish community on campus. It is important to me that Cal Lutheran is a safe place for Jewish students of all affiliations to explore their own identity while making new friends. I love celebrating Jewish holidays and teaching others about our traditions. Engaging with our students and seeing our future Jewish leaders grow and develop their identities is the best part of my job.

Belle Michael, Campus Rabbi

Our Hillel and Jewish Life Advisory Board brings together like-minded community and business leaders with Cal Lutheran parents, alumni, faculty and staff.

The board seeks to advise Cal Lutheran’s administration on ways to best cultivate and support the Jewish community on campus.

Members of the board meet quarterly to discuss upcoming events, ways to engage the broader community with the university’s mission and purpose, and strategies to draw more students to Cal Lutheran.

If you’re interested in joining the board or attending a meeting, contact Rabbi Belle Michael at or call 805-493-3228.