F.A.Q. About JEM

As a student who is looking for something more out of your college years, JEM is definitely the right destination. This is where you can feel free, open, authentic, challenged, and connected.

Ask about any topic you want.  Hear outstanding guest speakers. Join discussions with other outstanding students who share your interests in exploring the deeper questions of life.  Meet amazing rabbis and teachers. Share incredible Shabbat dinners���and more!

What is The Jewish Experience of Madison? The Jewish Experience of Madison is a non-profit Jewish educational organization based in Madison, WI, servicing Jewish students in the University of Wisconsin, Madison population. JEM is an independent organization which works together with similar campus organizations on over 50 campuses in North America.

What is the goal of the program? JEM’s goal is to create the next generation of Jewish leaders by investing in students like you today.

Who are the rabbis and other teachers? JEM rabbis and teachers are individuals who personally practice traditional Judaism while being supportive and committed to helping students become Jewishly educated, literate and empowered. They are fully committed to JEM’s open educational philosophy.

What kind of Jewish background do I need to have?  

  • JEM welcomes students from a wide range of backgrounds and prior Jewish education—from little to no knowledge of what it means to be Jewish, to having attended Sunday school or Jewish day school
  • JEM students may begin with some Hebrew or none
  • Some students may have primarily cultural or secular Jewish backgrounds, while others have more knowledge of Jewish practices and traditions
  • All are encouraged to learn, explore and grow as individuals

How is JEM different from other Jewish campus organizations serving UW students and does JEM collaborate?  JEM focuses on personal Jewish Growth for students who are seeking that as part of their college experience. We welcome collaboration with other groups and actively seek it where possible.

What is JEM like socially? Will I have time to meet and get to know other Jewish students? JEM fosters a uniquely vibrant and bonded social community on campus. Every JEM program incorporates time and space for discussion, socializing, and connecting with your fellow students. Many students have formed bonds that last well beyond their college years with other JEM alumni, as relationships are formed in an inspiring and meaningful environment. We definitely know how to have a good time – with quality social events, trips, Shabbatons, meals, and more.

What is the cost of the program? All on-campus JEM programming is free; in fact, you will receive a stipend for completing the Maimonides Leaders Fellowship, as well as Maimonides II, which many students opt to use towards a JEM Israel program.

Who funds JEM programming? JEM is a 501(c) non-profit organization. We are supported by the The Afikim Foundation, the general Jewish community, parents of students, and alumni of UW- Madison who value our work and have chosen to become partners in our mission.

Is JEM a local or national organization? JEM is an independent, local, not-for-profit organization created for the University of Wisconsin students.  While there are many similar organizations throughout the United States, they are not directly affiliated with each other.  JEM is an acronym for Jewish Experience of Madison … so come and Experience Jewish Madison.

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