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Search for new Jewish chaplain almost completed

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: News


The search for a new rabbi for Brandeis is almost at a close, say sources within the Office of Student Life. This comes after Rabbi Alan Lehmann resigned from the University in July to become the associate dean of Hebrew Colleges rabbinical school.

According to Assistant Dean of Student Life Jamele Adams, the University should choose between four candidates within approximately a month and a half.

Adams also explained the criteria for the new Chaplain: the Chaplain should be able to function within the diversity of not only our Jewish Community members, but of all others as well. He [or] she should embrace working with our interfaith community at Brandeis, be academically driven, serve as an activist for a rich spiritual environment and have a sense of humor.

In the interim, Adams said, students should feel very comfortable utilizing our
Chaplaincy, as it exist for all and also utilize the newly hired Rabbis of Hillel. Our spiritual community is strong, interfaith and open.

Larry Sternberg, Executive Director of Hillel at Brandeis, also suggested that work with Hillel staff, including Rabbi Elliot Kaplowitz, as well as our colleagues in the Chaplaincy.

Regarding which qualities he felt an incoming rabbi should have, Sternberg said, Brandeis is a unique environment. The Jewish chaplain's role includes ministering to all Jewish students — making them feel a sense of belonging and assisting them in their own spiritual journeys. The Jewish chaplain, together with other chaplains, has a responsibility to create a spiritual environment on campus that nurtures personal growth, promotes understanding between groups, and fosters community.

Adams also mentioned that the University was interviewing female candidatesif hired, I believe it would be the first time in Brandeis history, he said. We have to
get there first. We're still in the early phases of the search process.

Students also gave their input on what qualities they felt the next rabbi should have. Emily Bloom 08, a Conservative Jew, said that the rabbi should be someone whos very eager to be involved, because thats a big part of this campus. He or she must be able to connect with all the students, but primarily the Jewish population.

Sarah Krevsky 08, a Reform Jew who is training to become a cantor, said that the rabbi, whether male or female, should have a lot of similar characteristics to Rabbi Lehmann. He was very pluralistic, and all of his thoughts and approaches to students on campus, whether Jewish or not. It is very important to Brandeis for their Hillel rabbis to bridge the gaps. She added that the Rabbi should be very interested in learning from Brandeis students, as well as helping others to learn.