Rabbi Kenneth Brander Attends President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge in Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, attended President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge event in Washington D.C. on August 3. The event was part of the President’s initiative to call on institutions of higher education across America to commit to progressing interfaith cooperation through community service initiatives over the course of the 2011-2012 academic year. Some 250 universities are involved in the initiative.
The convention provided faith and community leaders with the opportunity to hear from several senior government officials and mingle with representatives from other universities. During numerous sessions participants expressed challenges and opportunities presented by interfaith work and discussed building tolerance through this context. This sentiment was reflected in a video clip played at the conference during which President Obama explained that through this initiative, he is challenging students and administrators to work together with the government to improve people’s lives and positively affect their neighborhoods. He concluded by stating “the values that unite us as Americans are far more powerful than those that divide us.”
Yeshiva University plans on implementing this initiative through educating students on campus and the greater Jewish community about medical issues relating to Public Health and fitness. The project will also reach out to other university campuses on the importance of Public health creating a consortium of students from various campuses who will interact with public school students in the Washington Heights area.
“Participating in a service learning experience with students of another college or faith, where the focus is not theological conversations but social change will be a transformative experience for all participants,” said Rabbi Brander. “I am proud that Yeshiva was chosen to participate in the National White House Challenge.”