On Wednesday evening, December 26th, TABC and Ma’ayanot hosted their annual Jewish Life on Campus joint program. The evening featured over 27 college students from such varied universities as Cornell, SUNY at Binghamton, Cooper Union, New York University, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, Princeton, Brandeis, Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Rutgers, Queens, UMass at Amherst, and, of course, Yeshiva University.
The participants were privileged to hear from these representatives about Jewish life on their respective campuses in round-robin sessions. The program was introduced by Director of Professional Recruitment and Leadership Development for OU-JLIC (Orthodox Union-Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus), Rabbi Gideon Black, who clearly and persuasively explained the “what, why and how” of OU-JLIC’s mission. Most of the carefully selected universities who were invited have OU-JLIC Educators on their campuses. These educators are sent from the OU and work in partnership with Hillel, to help college students navigate the college environment and balance their Jewish commitments with their desire to engage in the secular world. Five of them were in attendance at the program — Rabbi Benny and Sara Berlin (CUNY Queens), Rabbi Noam Friedman (Columbia), Rabbi Tzvi Wohlgelernter (Rutgers), and Rabbi Elie and Miriam Schwartz (University of Maryland).
“At Torah Academy we look for the college that is right for each student educationally, socially and religiously. OU-JLIC and its rabbinical couples are a very important part of that process”
The evening was also enriched by the presence of many TABC and Ma’ayanot alumni, representing a full range of prestigious colleges and talking animatedly about the shiurim, minyanim and other Jewish-related activities that they make it their business to seek out and participate in, no matter which college they attend. Anyone watching the many intelligent and exemplary Jewish youth speaking so eloquently about the Jewish life in which they are actively engaged within their respective colleges would have been proud. It was a gratifying and humbling sight.
According to Dr. Garry Katz, TABC Director of College Guidance, “At Torah Academy we look for the college that is right for each student educationally, socially and religiously. OU-JLIC and its rabbinical couples are a very important part of that process as they enable our students who attend secular colleges to have a base and a contact point to continue and enhance their religious experience while in college. We are fortunate to be able to work with both the OU-JLIC organization and its rabbinical couples.”
Out of 21 OU-JLIC rabbis serving campuses across North America, three are TABC graduates – Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan ’97 at UCLA, Rabbi Noam Friedman ’06 at Columbia University, and Rabbi Benny Berlin ’08 at Queens College. TABC inculcates the importance of prioritizing commitment to halacha and Jewish practice no matter where its graduates’ academic pursuits or career paths take them.
Written by TABC Staff