Campus Fellowship Reaches 100s of Students On Over 20 College Campuses
Students Attracted to Vibrant, Inclusive Orthodoxy
The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals offers a vision of Orthodox Judaism that is intellectually sound, spiritually compelling, and emotionally satisfying. Based on an unwavering commitment to the Torah tradition and to the Jewish people, it fosters an appreciation of legitimate diversity within Orthodoxy.
I believe that Judaism is brought to life through each Jew’s active involvement. By encouraging discourse, students take an active role in developing their own Judaism and help create a more open, honest and compelling Jewish world.
— Naomi Hachen, Campus Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania
Judaism is too important for me to follow “just because.” If I am Orthodox, I want it to be because I have scrutinized the ideology and found it the appropriate manner in which to conduct myself for the rest of my life.
— Noam Grysman, Campus Fellow at York University
Excited Young Leaders in the Making
Campus Fellows with the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals have a unique opportunity to bring their passions, values, and creativity to the table when engaging their fellow students to broaden the intellectual horizons of Orthodoxy.
In addition to creating safe spaces on campus for students to explore their beliefs together, each Campus Fellow puts on four events per year about topics that speak to the important issues facing the Orthodox community today. By seeing their ideas through from planning to execution, our Fellows discover how feasible it can be to make change happen themselves.
Growing Campus Reach:
From a small but optimistic experiment in 2009, the Campus Fellowship has caught fire across the US and Canada, and now encompasses 29 Fellows on 21 college campuses. With each campus reaching a network of 20 – 50 students, the Fellows have already made over 600 “touches” in the Fall 2012 semester!
Campuses in the University Network:
|Campus Pulse - Student Ideas in Action|
Thanks to a generous gift of the Rabbi Arthur A. Jacobovitz Institute, several of our Fellows have put on regional conferences that attract students from other campuses outside their local constituency. From start to finish, these are planned and executed by the Fellows themselves, with support as needed from the Institute and local organizations such as Hillel.
UChicago, Nov. 16th - 17th: Campus Fellows Doni Bloomfield, Sam Englander, and Jonathan nathan built an exciting Shabbton and conference around visitng scholar Rabbi David Flatto of Penn State University. Together with some 50 students, Flatto led several interactive talks and seminars on topics ranging from Rambam's views of institutionalized prayer, to a comparison of the conception of Sabbath in the three Abrahamic faiths. Participants came from all across the Chicago area, including UChicago, Northwestern, UIC, and Oakton Community College.
Yale, Jan. 18th - 20th: Campus Fellow Hody Nemes has assembled an amazing line-up of speakers for a conference in New Haven next month on the theme of living a genuinely modern Orthodox life in a secular world. We look forward to many interesting panels, lectures, and discussions with Rabbi Dov Linzer of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, rabbi Aryeh Klapper of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership, Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld of the Shalom Hartman Institute, Aaron Koller of YU, and Shira Hecht-Koller of SAR High School.
A Taste - Fruit of the Fellows' Labor in Fall 2012:
Columbia (10/19) - Sephardic Shabbat: Campus Fellow Meir Brooks mobilized dozens of excited students to model the diverse traditions of the Sephardic experience for their friends and guests. From Tefillah and food to in-depth discussions about halakhic approaches, the Shabbat was a marathon of welcoming, growth-producing experiences for 75 students.
Brandeis (11/14) - Organ Donation and Brain Death in Jewish Law: Campus Fellow Ethan Stein invited Robbie Berman, the founder and director of the Halakhic Organ Donation Society, to speak to a group of 20 students about this emotionally charged area of halakhah. Berman engaged a diverse audience in a meaningful and provocative conversation that challenged "common knowledge" about end-of-life issues in halakhah, and showcased a long list of rabbis who support organ donation.
Maryland (11/14) - The Role of Women in Tefilah: Campus Fellow Yael Nagar took advantage of Rabbi Daniel Sperber's recent visit to America to make a high-caliber speaker available for a more intimate discussion with 40 students. Sperber spoke about the halakhic arguments concerning partnership minyanim, and the policy positions that modern posekim have adopted about them in light of their potential impact of the Orthodox community.
Cornell (11/17) - Halakhah We Can All Use: Campus Fellow Peninah Feldman noticed that many of her fellow students had expressed discomfort with the mehitzah in their prayer space, and held an open-ended conversation about it using a teshuvah of Rabbis Moshe Feinstein as a springboard. While a dilemma like that can't always be solved in one night, people enjoyed discussing practical ways of balancing a variety of stakeholders in a communal decision.
Queens College (Fridays 11/21 - 12/6) - Dinner & Discuss: Campus Fellow Steven Levine has led three Shabbat Dinners in which he welcomed students to discuss the big questions facing the Orthodox world today. So far they have tackled the future of Orthodoxy as a denomination, the shiddukh crisis, and the attitudes toward equality and egalitarianism in Judaism. In the simple but effusive words of one participant, "it was fun!"
American Hebrew Academy (12/8) - Hogwarts Halakhah: Campus Fellow Sarah Chernys has really stepped up the the plate as our only Fellow at a Jewish High School! She led a very creative seminar for 20 students that used a prominent icon of pop culture as a way to engage her peers in a serious discussion about rabbinic attitudes to magic and superstition.
Boston University (twice a week) - Parashah learning: Campus Fellow Will Breslaw demonstrated that depth with a smaller audience can be just as impactful -if not more so- than a one-time event that draws many participants. Every week he and a group of 5 studnets have learned parashat hashavua over breakfast, showing how a text as old as the Humash still hass tremendous relevance for the questions that come up in our everyday lives as modern Jews living in a secular society.
With such an exciting start, we are confident that the Campus Fellowship will become an even stronger way to support vibrant, compassionate, and inclusive models of Orthodoxy on college campuses. may our Fellows go me'hayil le'hayil!