The Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College showcases how academic and community institutions can work together to improve the cultural life of small towns while enriching the education of college students. Building on collaboration among Colby’s Jewish Studies Program, Colby Hillel, and Waterville’s Beth Israel Congregation, the center provides inspiring educational and cultural programs to the Waterville community—including Colby students—and to other communities across Maine. It develops exemplary conferences, learning opportunities, leadership development initiatives, and town-gown partnerships. The center also researches and promotes best practices in programming, outreach, and leadership so that small towns and colleges across the country can apply Colby’s model to invigorate Jewish life in their own communities. Keystone initiatives of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life are
Maine Conference for Jewish Life: Brings together Jews from across the region to gain familiarity with the jewels of Jewish civilization, convene with other Jews from northern New England, exchange best practices for crafting successful rural Jewish lives, experience the benefits and challenges of celebrating in a pluralistic environment, and revel in Torah learning.
The Mid-Maine Jewish Funtensive: A two-week program that provides Jewish skills and a sense of community for children throughout the state who want to learn more about Jewish culture, history, and Hebrew language.
Fall Shabbaton: Brings top Jewish musicians and artists to Colby College for the edification and enjoyment of college students and community members across the state.
Center for Small Town Jewish Life Fellows: Empowers seven to 10 students each year to invigorate and enrich Jewish life in Waterville through teaching and developing Hebrew school curriculum, engaging in advanced Jewish learning, reaching out to students, and programming events for the Waterville community.
Community Conversations: An annual series of three talks bringing together Waterville faith and community institutions with Colby faculty and students to discuss major issues of common concern.
For more information about the center and its initiatives, visit the Center for Small Town Jewish Life website.