As a small, premier liberal arts college, Davidson is an excellent setting for an active Jewish community. We recognize and value the uniqueness of every Jewish student and are invested in their individual growth. Administrators, faculty, alumni and parents are committed to nurturing the experience of Jewish students so that Davidson feels like a home away from home.
Approximately five percent of Davidson's student body is Jewish. They come from over 20 states and the District of Columbia. Most are in the Reform tradition; many are Conservative or identify as culturally but not religiously Jewish.
Within walking distance of campus is Temple Kol Tikvah of Lake Norman, a congregation affiliated with the Reform Movement. Students can participate fully in the life of the congregation and have opportunities to teach in the Sunday school.
Rabbi Michael Shields has served as associate chaplain on campus and rabbi of Temple Kol Tikvah of Lake Norman since 2008.
Rabbi Shields mentors and collaborates with Hillel student leaders in implementing Jewish religious, cultural. and social programming. He also works alongside colleagues in the Chaplains' Office to serve the diverse spiritual needs of the campus community.
Shields holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University at Albany of the State University of New York in history and master's degrees in Religious Education and Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He was ordained as a rabbi in 2008. Contact Rabbi Shields at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-252-7038.
Davidson College Hillel is a welcoming student-led organization that celebrates the diversity of Jewish lives, experiences, and cultures. We foster an inclusive community in which individuals can explore and celebrate their Jewish identity (whether religious or cultural) through connections with other students, faculty, staff, and the local community. Hillel members host frequent Shabbat gatherings in our residence halls, as well as fun activities during campus celebrations of Sukkot and Hanukkah.
The town of Davidson is home to Temple Kol Tikvah of Lake Norman, a congregation affiliated with the Reform Movement. Students can participate fully in the life of the congregation and have opportunities to teach in the Sunday school.
The nearby city of Charlotte also has its own vibrant Jewish community:
The college maintains a detailed religious observances calendar covering a variety of religious faiths and traditions.
High Holy Days
Jewish students at Davidson College are welcome to observe and celebrate the High Holy Days on campus with Temple Kol Tikvah of Lake Norman (Reform). Services are free and open to the Davidson College community, and no tickets are required. If students wish to connect with a different synagogue, Rabbi Shields and the Chaplains' Office will help make those arrangements.
Hillel leads a lively seder for Davidson students and staff. A delicious dinner is enjoyed by more than 100 seder participants. Reservations are greatly appreciated.
Making the transition from high school to college for Jewish students has never been easier. Hillel International has an amazing new resource where graduating seniors can self-identify and their information will be shared with their new college/university's Hillel. The local Hillel chapter receives automatic notification so that it can reach out to any interested student who completes the form. It's a great way for incoming students to learn about Jewish life on campus before they arrive at Davidson.