On May 29, 2024, the Columbia Barnard JLIC community had the honor of hosting the Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis. This momentous occasion, facilitated by Rabbi Elie Buechler, Director of the JLIC at Columbia, marked a significant moment of solidarity and inspiration for the Jewish students amidst challenging times.

Rabbi Mirvis’ visit was a beacon of support and unity for the Jewish students at Columbia University. Addressing the community, Rabbi Mirvis conveyed a powerful message: the Jewish community stands in full solidarity with them amidst the unprecedented and unacceptable rise of antisemitism on campus. He expressed his deep admiration for the resilience and courage displayed by the students, emphasizing the exceptional leadership of Rabbi Elie Buechler and the JLIC program.Rabbi Elie Buechler Hosts Chief Rabbi Mirvis at Columbia: A Day of Solidarity and Inspiration

“I was deeply inspired by the fortitude and resilience of the students and the wonderful leadership of the OU-JLIC Rabbi Elie Buechler,” Rabbi Mirvis remarked, highlighting the strength and unity within the community.

During his address, Rabbi Mirvis spoke passionately about the global Jewish community, emphasizing that we are all one mishpacha (family). He shared that the discussions about Columbia had reached his Shabbos table, and he expressed immense pride in the students. “You didn’t ask to be Jewish heroes. But you are,” he stated, acknowledging the inadvertent but profound role the students have played in upholding Jewish values and solidarity.

Rabbi Mirvis encouraged the students to open up about their experiences. Many shared stories of positive Jewish community interactions and noted how less affiliated Jews were coming out of the woodwork to join in. This resurgence of communal involvement was a testament to the strong Jewish identity fostered within the Columbia Barnard community.

Rabbi Elie Buechler Hosts Chief Rabbi Mirvis at Columbia University and meets with JLIC students.

The students engaged Rabbi Mirvis with questions about aliyah and the role of Jews in the diaspora. His thoughtful responses and genuine interest in their perspectives created a meaningful dialogue, reinforcing the sense of community and shared purpose.

Rabbi Mirvis devoted most of the time to listening to the students’ thoughts and questions. His thoughtful and attentive demeanor made a lasting impression on the community, leaving them feeling heard and valued.

The visit of Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis to Columbia University will be remembered as a significant moment of unity, inspiration, and solidarity. It reinforced the importance of standing together in the face of adversity and highlighted the enduring strength and resilience of the Jewish community.

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