French Jewish Students Seek Higher Education in Jewish Environment

Dean Ethel Orlian and Daniel Morris being interviewed at Radio Shalom in Paris.

Jul 29, 2004 — Enrollment of French Jewish students at Yeshiva University (YU) for the fall semester will more than double, said John Fisher, PhD, director of enrollment management, to nearly 40 French men and women when classes resume in August.

“YU offers something that colleges in France cannot provide to Jewish students,” said Hillel Davis, PhD, vice president for university affairs. “They want a top-notch education in addition to an array of Jewish learning unequalled anywhere in the world. Only Yeshiva University can fill that need.”

Senior university officials recently visited several Jewish communities in Paris, Marseilles, and Strasbourg on an exploratory visit to France in response to a communal invitation.

“Parents and students traveled from all regions of the country to hear presentations and complete applications,” said Ethel Orlian, PhD, assistant dean of Stern College for Women. “The outpouring was quite overwhelming and several hundred families expressed a desire to send their children to YU.”

Recent acts of anti-Semitism have created a hostile environment for French Jews, as reported by international press. Some school policies, Jewish leaders say, have made it difficult for Jewish students to adhere to their traditions while attending university. Observance of the Sabbath and kashrut laws is difficult and accommodations are not always made when exams are scheduled on Jewish holidays.

“We are in the business of educating future Jewish leaders. We are hopeful YU can play this role for the French Jewish community well by educating these young people and grooming them for leadership roles in their respective communities when they return to France,” Dr. Davis said.”

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