In the bustling corridors of legal academia on the West Coast, a quiet revolution is taking place, one that is fostering a sense of community, tradition, and leadership among law school students. At the heart of this movement lies JLIC, a program dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students on university campuses across the nation. Today, we shine a spotlight on JLIC’s profound impact on several prominent law schools, including UCLA Law, Southwestern Law, Loyola Law School, and Berkeley Law, and explore how these initiatives have flourished over the years.

UCLA Law stands as a testament to the enduring success of JLIC’s mission. What began as a modest request from a handful of students for Talmud classes has blossomed into a vibrant program that now sees approximately 15 students attending weekly sessions and a community of 60+ who join various activities. For over two decades, JLIC has been a staple of campus life, providing not only religious education but also fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging among Jewish students. Spearheaded by dedicated individuals and supported by the Yavneh Young Professionals (YP), UCLA’s JLIC program has expanded its reach, organizing events such as weekend Shabbatons that bring the community together in celebration and socializing.

Some of the Loyola Law School Students at a JLIC event.

Similarly, Southwestern Law’s partnership with JLIC has yielded remarkable growth and engagement. Over the span of six years, the program now attracts around 50 students to its various activities, contributing to a thriving JLIC community of over 100 individuals. Loyola Law School, although a more recent addition to the JLIC family, has swiftly established itself as a hub for Jewish students, with approximately 30 participants in weekly events and a robust community of over 70 members.

JLIC West coast Loyola and Southwestern Law school students enjoying a JLIC event with Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

Berkeley Law’s journey with JLIC highlights the program’s adaptability and inclusivity. Led by a Yavneh fellow in collaboration with Rabbi Aryeh and Sharona Kaplan, Berkeley’s JLIC initiative serves a diverse group of students, including those without a traditional day school background. What started as basic Hebrew classes has evolved into a comprehensive program that nurtures Jewish identity and fosters connections through Shabbat programs and other communal gatherings.

JLIC’s reach is set to expand further with the inclusion of two additional law schools, UFC and Pepperdine Law, into its programming. This growth reflects the organic nature of JLIC’s development, driven by the feedback and desires of students eager to deepen their engagement with Jewish life on campus.

Central to JLIC’s success is its commitment to identifying and nurturing student leaders. Rabbi Aryeh and Sharona Kaplan play a pivotal role in recognizing individuals with the potential to make meaningful contributions to the community and encourage their participation in Yavneh and Yavneh YP programs, where they can develop essential leadership skills.

JLIC’s impact on West Coast law schools transcends religious education; it fosters a sense of belonging, community, and leadership among Jewish students navigating the rigors of legal education. As these programs continue to flourish and expand, they serve as beacons of enrichment for all who seek to celebrate their Jewish heritage amidst the demands of academic life.

Reach out to any of our Directors to learn more about JLIC and our programming.

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