OU’S JLIC PROGRAM, BRINGING ATMOSPHERE OF THE YESHIVA TO SECULAR CAMPUSES, TO ARRIVE AT UMASS AMHERST IN THE FALL;
INITIATIVE HAS MAJOR IMPACT AT 12 OTHER COLLEGES ACROSS U.S.
As the next step in its highly successful effort to duplicate the atmosphere of the yeshiva on secular college campuses nationwide, the Orthodox Union will bring its Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus program to the University of Massachusetts Amherst when the academic year resumes in the fall. A young rabbinical couple will move to campus from Israel to conduct the program.
UMass Amherst will become the 13th campus to receive the program, now in its seventh year, and the second in Massachusetts, alongside Brandeis. The other participating schools include Yale, Princeton, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Rutgers, the University of Maryland, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois and UCLA.
JLIC is a cooperative effort of the Orthodox Union; Hillel: The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life; and the Torah Mitzion organization. It has been given major financial support from an endowment provided by Orthodox Union leaders Herbert (Heshe) Seif and his wife, Harriet, whose names adorn the program.
The program — featuring intensive study of Jewish texts, Sabbath and holiday observance, daily synagogue services, mentoring and good companionship — is dedicated to the enhancement of Orthodox communities (kehilot) on campus by promoting positive growth and identity among Jewish students, therefore serving as one of the incubators of the future of Orthodoxy. The program is open to all Jewish students, regardless of level of observance.
JLIC is built around a young rabbi and his wife, who provide the educational and spiritual component as well as serving as role models for the students. JLIC at UMass Amherst will be led by Rabbi David Ruderman, a 1997 graduate of Ithaca College in New York, and Ariella Ruderman, a 1996 graduate of Smith College. They had been living and studying in Israel prior to their appointment to the UMass position. The couple will serve as part of the UMass Amherst Hillel staff, under the direction of Rabbi Saul Perlmutter.
The program will also be available to students in the Five College Initiative, including Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges as well as UMass Amherst.