students living in the Bayit are a very diverse group. We come
from different social and religious backgrounds, from secular Jews to observant, fourth generation, to recent immigrants.
We give each other a great deal, both in terms of a social and personal support
system, and of a forum for sharing knowledge.
The Bayit was founded
in 1980 by a group of Jewish students who wanted to create an alternative Jewish
enviroment and found a historic Julia Morgan house (the former LeConte Hall
circa 1908) and fell in love with the house and the idea of cooperative
living enviroment. They liked the house so much that when it was put up for sale, they convinced their parents and some Jewish organizations to buy it so that they could continue to live there. A few years later the Bayit was incorporated as a nonprofit
organization. It is now the longest continuously running Jewish co-op
in the country.
Bayit provides room, board, and a spiritual community for the students in
an atmosphere of sharing and learning from each other. We also put on programs for the Berkeley Jewish
household chores (including cooking - if you don't know how when you arrive, you will by the time you leave) are divided among the residents. The business affairs
are run by an external board mostly made up of former residents (but most meetings are held at the Bayit so that Bayitniks can attend). The house itself
is owned by the nonprofit corporation, The Berkeley Bayit Inc.
We keep a
kosher kitchen. The Bayit keeps as kosher as the most kosher person in residence. Other practice is determined by that year's Bayitniks.
And the Bayit is not just about your time at Berkeley, we have an active alumni association. Our 25th Reunion made the local and national Jewish Papers (The Forward wrote a nice article as did the J (the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California).