On Tuesday, January 3rd, the College Guidance office arranged for alumni to return to campus and speak about Jewish Life at the colleges they now attend. MTA grads returned from colleges as diverse as YU and Maryland, Baruch and Cornell, Montclair and Columbia. They described the challenges of life when minyan attendance is not mandatory and when things like kosher food and learning opportunities can be challenging to find.

The program was headlined by Rabbi Noam Friedman who serves as the JLIC educator at Columbia University together with his wife, Shifra. JLIC, the OU’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, has placed couples like the Friedmans at 23 college campuses. Rabbi Friedman described his role at Columbia, and the assistance that JLIC couples can offer to Orthodox students at any of the campuses they serve. For a full list of JLIC campuses, visit https://oujlic.org. In addition, Rabbi Friedman spoke about the different roles played by various campus organizations including Hillel, Chabad, and Yavneh Olami.

Rabbi Hart Levine of TheHeart2HeartProject.org made a presentation about colleges that do not have JLIC. He gave pointers about how to research what Jewish resources are available on a particular campus of interest, and also how his work, also through the OU, can help a student who does not have JLIC support.

After the initial presentation, students and parents had the opportunity to attend a breakout session, in which MTA alumni currently studying at a school could share his experience. The students and parents who attended all came away feeling better informed about the challenges of secular college and what help they can hope to find.

Thank you to Rabbi Kahn who opened the program by sharing a story about his experience visiting UCLA, and to Mrs. Weschler, who arranged a nice dinner for the visiting alumni. Thank you also to both Mr. Sragow, Director of College Guidance, and to Rabbi Brownstein, College Guidance Advisor, who both organized this annual program, Of course, a very special thank you to the alumni themselves, who gave up a few hours from their vacation to return to MTA and help our current students.


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