About the Bayit
The 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 environment. Our founders found a historic Julia Morgan house and fell in love with the house and the idea of a cooperative living environment. 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.
The 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 community.
The household chores 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.
The Bayit is not just about your time at Berkeley - we also 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). You can find our Alumni Facebook page here.