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Jew-It-Yourself Grants

Apply for funding and Hillel support to host a Shabbat or holiday meal or gathering for you and up to 9 friends, or design a program or ongoing initiative. Whether you want to host a Shabbat picnic dinner, a socially distant Yom Kippur Break Fast, or a Hanukkah candle lighting; form a Jewish meditation group; organize a Jewish themed poetry slam; or have another idea that interests you – our Jew-It-Yourself (JIY) grants are for you!  We’ll provide funds and supplies, and work with you to help make your meal or other idea possible.

Please note - WashU and STL County guidelines must be adhered to for gatherings.  Applications for events that cannot adhere to the current guidelines will not be considered.


  1. Submit the application below for a Shabbat meal no later than Sunday night preceding your Friday meal.
    Apply for Rosh Hashanah by 11:59pm on Wednesday, Sept 1.  Apply for Yom Kippur by 11:59pm on Sunday, Sept 12.
  2. BEFORE YOUR EVENT, make sure to keep all receipts to be able to get a reimbursement.
  3. AT YOUR EVENT, make sure to keep an attendance list.
  4. AT YOUR EVENT, take 3-5 pictures of your guests enjoying the gathering; if it is Shabbat or a holiday where you or your attendees do not take photos for religious reasons, take 3-5 pictures of your preparation (as much as we enjoy seeing the dishes you cook and your set-up, please submit photos of students.)
  5. Within 1 week after the event, fill out a reimbursement form to submit your attendance list, receipts, and photos. You will receive a confirmation email. 
  6. Your reimbursement will be processed and sent within 2 weeks of your reimbursement submission.

WashU Hillel’s Jew-It-Yourself Grant Initiative is underwritten in part by the Kranzberg Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

Jew-It-Yourself Grant FAQ

  1. How much money can I apply for?

    As is common with grant applications, we ask you to be intentional about what you are requesting and apply for what you need, and we will let you know what we are able to fund!

    Shabbat JIYs: there are two options! A $5 stipend per person to help you order in from your favorite restaurant or buy ingredients and supplies to cook dinner (please keep your receipts!) OR catered, individually wrapped meals from Kohn's including an entree, 1-2 sides, and dessert. Hillel will supply you with grape juice, challah, tea lights and paper goods and utensils.

    For all other JIY programs/initiatives (including but not limited to Rosh HaShanah meals, Yom Kippur Break Fast meals, Snacks for Jewish Book Club meetings, virtual cooking events with friends, Jewish paint parties, and more!), Hillel will fund most, if not all program costs. If you're ordering meals from a restaurant we likely cannot cover the entire cost of the event, but will subsidize it.

    Please note that JIY funds cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, even if all attendees are over 21. Moreover, we know that ambiance is important when hosting guests. Reasonable requests will be considered for flowers or other decorations, but unfortunately, JIY funds cannot cover lighting, furniture, or other similar supplies.

  2. Who can apply for these funds?

    Any current undergraduate WashU student that wishes to create a Jewish program or experience may apply.

  3. Do I need to do anything special for reimbursement?

    YES! Please make sure to review all application instructions - you'll need to submit photos, event attendance, and receipts to receive reimbursement. Instructions will be sent to you.

  4. Wow! This is great! Does WashU Hillel have other similar funding opportunities?

    Yes! During the fall semester, you can sign up to receive a stipend, support, a special gift, and more while hosting a Shabbat with your friends as part of Shabbat Around WashU. During the spring semester, we have a similar program called Do Your Own Seder during Passover!

  5. How many people can come to my program or meal?

    Due to social gathering restrictions as a result of COVID-19, capacity of JIY programs are limited. Per WashU policy, only up to 10 people are allowed, and social distancing must be adhered to. WashU and St. Louis County also mandate the use of masks among attendees. Hillel will verify if the space you intend to host your program can accommodate the attendees in the required socially distant manner.

Jew-It-Yourself Grant Application
First Name *
Last Name *
Are you planning:
Choose one option
If you answered "Shabbat Dinner," do you want:
Questions to think about: Why are you hosting this event? Who will it be for? What will you be doing?
We know the guest list may change and will ask you to confirm after the event. Please include yourself, 10 person limit.
Because of COVID restrictions set forth by the University and STL County, details in this field are IMPORTANT. Please indicate the specific location where you plan to host, and outline how you will be able to accomodate social distance requirements for the number of attendees you anticipate.
Is this WashU Housing?
Apply for a Shabbat meal no later than the Sunday preceding your Friday meal. Apply for a holiday meal or other program by 11:59pm one week prior to the date of your event.
Please include all costs you might expect to incur for this event, and any explanations necessary.