Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus At Brandeis Welcomes Rabbi David and Ariel Pardo
Rabbi David and Ariel Pardo, with daughter Haviva, new JLIC Torah Educators at Brandeis.
With the academic year well underway and the Jewish Fall holidays in the past, Rabbi David and Ariel Pardo are prepared to look ahead for their first year on campus as the new Torah Educators at Brandeis University as part of the Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) program of the Orthodox Union, in partnership with Hillel at Brandeis.
They replace Rabbi Eliot and Toby Kaplowitz, who served the campus for six years. Rabbi Kaplowitz is now the Rabbi-in-Residence at Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Baltimore.
JLIC hires couples to work as part of the Hillel staff to serve as Jewish educators, role models and community organizers on campus. JLIC Educators are engaged in working with students on 16 campuses across North America.
“We are excited to have David and Ariel Pardo on our Hillel team,” said Larry Sternberg, executive director of Hillel at Brandeis. “They have quickly established strong connections with our students and have created new programs, including ‘Chocolate Chips and Chit Chat,’ ‘Hey Rabbi: The Stuff They Don’t Tell You Till you Get to Rabbinical School,’ and ‘Ten Teshuvas That Changed the World.’ We know their love of Torah and devotion to our students will nurture individual growth and help build the Jewish community on our campus”.
Rabbi David Pardo, a native of Los Angeles, received his BA from UCLA and rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. Ariel Pardo, also a Los Angeles native, graduated from UCLA with a degree in Anthropology. UCLA itself is a JLIC campus, with its long-term Torah Educators Rabbi Aryeh and Sharona Kaplan.
The Pardos join the JLIC staff following active years in the JLIC program at their alma mater. “We’ve known about Rabbi David and Ariel Pardo for many years, stemming from their time as students at UCLA. I can’t think of more appropriate and inspirational mentors than the Kaplans,” reflected Rabbi Ilan Haber, JLIC director.
According to Rabbi Haber, the Orthodox Union recently invested in the Brandeis JLIC program through purchasing a house for use of the couple. “It is a clear and important display of commitment from the OU to the Brandeis Jewish community,” he noted.
Rabbi Haber shared, “After meeting the Pardos and seeing them in action, one can’t help but be impressed and excited about what they personally bring to the campus. They have that rare combination of laid-back warmth and easy-going nature, coupled with broader interest and capabilities.”
According to Ariel Pardo, “Brandeis has been so welcoming, and the students have been so responsive. The day our acceptance was announced to the Brandeis campus community, welcome emails began streaming in from students, parents, and even university faculty, expressing their thrill at our decision to join. We feel like we got set up the perfect match. The students are serious about their studies, open to new ideas, and fun to spend time with.”
The Pardos continued, “Our goals are to improve an already stellar, model campus community, include opening access to more learning opportunities, expanding the culture of inclusivity, increasing the quantity of easily accessible social programming, and making ourselves available in every way to all of our students.”
Referring to the long time Brandeis JLIC predecessors, Rabbi Haber said, “Rabbi Eliot and Toby Kaplowitz served the campus faithfully for six years, and we wish them great success as they transition to Baltimore; we’re sure they will be Jewish leaders and contribute to the community there.”
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