Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life at JUC

Our location in Jerusalem provides a unique setting for our students to grow spiritually. From major Christian holy sites to diverse worship services of historic and contemporary Christianity, our students have many opportunities to participate in the life of the church in Jerusalem.

On campus we hold weekly Shabbat meals and student-planned vespers services. We also explore the integration of faith and learning together through weekly forum table discussions.

Shabbat Meal

When the Sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbat) begins on Friday night at sundown, families from around the country return home to share a meal together and recite the traditional shabbat liturgy. As our week draws to a close and the city begins to rest, students of our long-term programs partake in a long-held JUC tradition by sharing in a Shabbat meal together on campus. We enjoy the traditional prayers and blessings before eating the meal together.


After Shabbat meal, our students come together for a voluntary Vespers Service. These worship services are planned and led by students. They usually involve music and a short homily by a student, staff member, or guest speaker from the local community. Vespers is a great way to end our week in worship together as a student body.

Forum Table & The Integration of Faith and Learning

Through JUC’s unique setting and the diverse backgrounds of its faculty members, students are exposed to many rich perspectives on church history, biblical texts, and modern politics, both in class and in the field.

Our weekly forum table discussions allow students to ask questions that may arise during their studies or simply through their adjustment to life in the Middle East.

JUC President, Dr. Paul Wright, addresses student questions and guides the discussion toward an edifying integration of faith and learning.

Church Services In Jerusalem

We encourage all of our students to visit local congregations in Jerusalem. Many choose to become active members of a local church while at JUC.