OU-JLIC students form lasting relationships with OU-JLIC educators who serve as students religious mentors years after students leave college.
During the four years I attended Brooklyn College, I formed lifelong friendships and learned an extraordinary amount. Brooklyn College has a beautiful campus, and a beautiful Hillel building, which is where the Orthodox Club (“OC”) and many other OU-JLIC umbrella clubs met and held events.
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack became the OU-JLIC Rabbi and Rebbetzin at Brooklyn College when I was a sophomore. I instantly formed a bond with Shira; she did and still does make everyone at Hillel feel welcome. My weekly schedule was filled with OU-JLIC programming. I was active in the Orthodox Club and the Israel Club. I attended shiurim, challah baking at Shira’s house, and far too many Shabbatonim to count! My friends and I spent many free periods at the Hillel helping Rabbi Reuven and Shira organize and plan for upcoming events. They brought a lot of joy and laughter into an otherwise regular, and often boring, school day.
OU-JLIC facilitated a wide range of programming to cater to the eclectic group of Orthodox students at Brooklyn College. My favorite event was the Israeli themed Friday night dinner. The food all fit into the theme of Israeli cuisine–Israeli salad, falafel and schnitzel. The ambiance was enhanced by the themed décor. Through my involvement with OU-JLIC I had several unforgettable experiences, including a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. On that Thanksgiving night we broke down the socioeconomic divides that usually exist; everyone ate and danced together.
The shiurim taught by Rabbi Reuven and Shira gave my week a spiritual boost. Interwoven into the shiurim were stories, discussions, and thought-provoking insights that were relevant to my daily school life. These classes served as a respite from the hustle and bustle of my weekly schedule; they gave me an opportunity to engage myself in a meaningful activity and to connect with friends.
“The Boshnacks continue to be the Rabbi and Rebbetzin, and mentors and confidants, for so many Brooklyn college students after they graduate from college.”
I met my husband Michael when I was a junior in college. Shira mentored me through the dating process as my Rebbetzin and also as my friend. Michael, who participated in many OC events, also became close to the Boshnacks. After I was engaged to Michael we asked the Boshnacks to be our chatan and kallah teachers. The classes were outstanding! They taught us the halachot with great patience and care and included tips and guidance for our marriage. We got married on August 25th, 2010. Rabbi Reuven and Shira participated in our wedding and enhanced our simchah by their presence. Eight years later, we are still in touch with Rabbi Reuven and Shira when halachic or personal questions arise.
Michael, my children, and I ate Shabbat lunch at the Boshnacks with other alumni earlier this year. It was wonderful to see friends that I haven’t spoken to in years. We were all at different stages of life–some single, some married, some married with kids–but each of us had retained close ties to the Boshnacks. The Boshnacks continue to be the Rabbi and Rebbetzin, and mentors and confidants, for so many Brooklyn college students after they graduate from college.
Several years ago, Shira invited me to the Purim Auction in its inaugural year. I thought we would stop by to show our support, but we ended up staying well into the night! Now we look forward to the annual Purim auction. The event is a time to socialize with other Brooklyn College alumni, browse the awesome prize collections, and (hopefully) win some great prizes. During nights like the Purim Auction it is apparent how many people love Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack just as much as we do and want to support them in their work.
Almost eight years after graduating, and eleven years after meeting the Boshnacks, we are still very close to Rabbi Reuven and Shira. Shira’s days are busy, but she always takes the time to call, text and even cook for us! I recently gave birth to my baby boy, Jacob, and Shira brought over a delicious home cooked meal. Our family enjoyed chicken, roast, mashed potatoes and vegetables. After a busy few weeks with the new baby, the food came at just the right time. Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack open their hearts and their homes to all their students and alumni. My Brooklyn College experience, as well as my life experience, would certainly not be the same without them.
Michelle Sabo, who majored in Accounting at Brooklyn College, is married to Michael and is a stay-at-home mother to her four children.