The Jewish Voice: On Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

By: JV Staff

As the academic year is in full swing at colleges across America and with the fallFriedmans-2-300x223 holidays now history, Rabbi Noam and Shiffy Friedman are prepared to look ahead for their first year on campus as the Torah Educators at the Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at Columbia University, a program of the Orthodox Union in partnership with Hillel at Columbia.  The Friedmans will be working as part of the Hillel staff to serve as Jewish educators, role models and community organizers for the Columbia and Barnard College campuses.

Rabbi Noam Friedman spent last year working as the Orthodox clergy intern for Columbia/Barnard Hillel. This year, he and Mrs. Friedman are the first official JLIC couple at Columbia University and Barnard College. They join the JLIC family with their three-year-old daughter Avital.  “Columbia/Barnard students enjoy a robust Jewish community,” Rabbi Friedman said. “It’s a real privilege to be a part of something so vibrant.” Mrs. Friedman added: “We love living close to campus and being involved in many aspects of Jewish life here.”

Rabbi Friedman graduated from Yeshiva University and received an M.A. in medieval Jewish history from YU.  Mrs. Friedman graduated from Stern College for Women and received a dual M.A. in education and Jewish studies from NYU.

“We are excited to be expanding to the Columbia and Barnard campuses,” said Rabbi Joshua Ross, associate director of JLIC. “This highlights how important JLIC’s mission is and the need that it fills in the Orthodox community.”

Now in its 15th year, JLIC was founded by Rabbi Menachem Schrader, and is directed by Rabbi Ilan Haber.  This year marks an especially important moment for JLIC, which is expanding to four new college campuses, bringing the total to 21, along with five new couples joining the program at established JLIC schools. In addition to Columbia, the newly established JLIC campuses also include Binghamton University, the University of Wisconsin, and Drexel University.

Rabbi Schrader said that campuses are picked for a variety of reasons.

“Most important to us is a sense that the students on campus would like us there and wish we would open a program,” he said. “Ultimately we are responding to a need.”

Rabbi Haber explained that finding an appropriate couple for a campus is one of the most difficult tasks the two face.

“It takes a very special set of qualities and unique traits to be an effective campus educator,” Rabbi Haber stated. “While we have a close relationship with key feeder institutions and graduate programs, we find our best couples through informal networking with key educators and communal leaders. The current or past couples themselves provide a fruitful source of other great couples. As they say, ‘It takes one to know one.'”

For further information, contact the Friedmans at and

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