The Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (OU-JLIC), a program of the Orthodox Union in partnership with Hillel, helps Orthodox students navigate the college environment and balance their Jewish commitments with their desire to engage the secular world. OU-JLIC provides avenues to spiritual development and exploration for Jewish students from varied backgrounds, presenting a positive, sophisticated and welcoming face for Orthodox Judaism on campus.
OU-JLIC places Orthodox Rabbinic couples to serve as Torah educators within Hillels on local college campuses. Now having expanded to twenty three campuses in North America, the OU-JLIC educators strive to enhance the learning opportunities available to students, work with and strengthen student leadership, and bolster an infrastructure for Torah life to flourish. The educators offer weekly Shiurim and classes, bring guest speakers and events to campus, and make key necessities, such as Kashrut, Chagim and Shabbos, easier to observe and more meaningful.
However instead of taking only a generalized approach, they strive also for a more individualized touch. Students grace their Shabbat tables as regular guests, interact with them in informal settings such as the cafeteria and learn with them B’Chavruta. The regular ongoing availability of the couple creates a comfort level that enables students to confide in them and seek advice for their more serious issues, whether of a Halachic, personal, or intellectual nature.
“All OU-JLIC educators have a special place in heaven because they believe in people, give them the ability to believe in themselves, and then follow through to help them fulfill their dreams.” – Stephanie, Queens College alumna.
Educators are considered full members of the Hillel staff and they interact with a large number of students both Orthodox and non-Orthodox. While the primary impetus of OU-JLIC has been to serve the Orthodox community, we encourage the educators to have a very substantive impact on a broader population as well.
We currently serve 22 campuses: Bar-Ilan University, Brooklyn College, Binghamton University, Brandeis University, California State at Northridge, Columbia University, Cornell University, IDC Herzliya, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Princeton University, Queens College, Rutgers University, Santa Monica College, Toronto Area Campuses, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Illinois (Champaign), University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.