The Seif Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (OU-JLIC) program has announced the renewal of the OU-JLIC/Yeshiva University Fellowship for the academic year of 2016-17. It will be the third year of the Fellowship, which is accredited as a formal internship within Yeshiva University’s Rabbinical School, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary’s (RIETS) Fourth Year Internship program; and the Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) at YU’s Stern College for Women. The Fellowship aims to serve as a training platform from which future full-time OU-JLIC Torah Educators, a young rabbi and his wife, will be drawn, and is overseen by Rabbi Gideon Black, OU NextGen’s Director of Professional Recruitment and Leadership Development.
OU-JLIC is a program of the Orthodox Union in partnership with Hillel and with support from donors. It places an Orthodox couple on secular college campuses. Once there, the couples provide programming for Orthodox students as well as encouraging close-knit relationships with students who otherwise could be lost in the predominantly secular environment. For the current academic year, OU-JLIC is found on 22 campuses throughout the United States and Canada.
“The value of the OU-JLIC program hinges directly on the talents and quality of the couples and their suitability for the campus,” said Rabbi Ilan Haber, national director of OU-JLIC. “Our success has largely been due to successful campus placements and our rich and talented staff of Torah Educators. OU-JLIC has grown by approximately fifty percent in the last three years. The Fellowship program gives us a ‘farm system’ (similar to that of major league baseball) to groom potential high quality Torah Educators, to give them front-line experience, to determine their unique talents and strengths, so we can successfully match them with appropriate campuses, and to support the ongoing work of our full-time educators. I am very impressed by the quality of the couples that Rabbi Black has chosen, and am confident that we will find long-term educators from among the talented Fellows.”
The current Fellows, who have each stood out as highly effective Jewish leaders in their own right, are working alongside the existing OU-JLIC teams at Brandeis University, New York University, Rutgers University and Queens College this year. Ely and Chana Shestack work alongside OU-JLIC educators Rabbi David and Ariel Pardo at Brandeis; Scott and Sara Hoberman are working with Rabbi Adam and Sara Frieberg at Rutgers; Chaim and Lindsey Strassman have joined Rabbi Robby and Shoshana Charnoff at Queens College; Jonathan and Sharone Bloom are serving the NYU community alongside Rabbi Joe Wolfson and Corinne Shmuel.
“The Fellowship is a true springboard for these talented educators in their careers,” noted Rabbi Black of OU-NextGen. “The challenge and exposure they get each day working on campus certainly matches and likely exceeds the experiences offered in pulpit and high school internships. The Fellows have on and off-site supervision throughout the year and submit written summaries of their work throughout the year for review. The Fellows will join the rest of the OU-JLIC staff at the annual winter conference in December and are excited about the semester ahead. “
Rabbi Gideon Shloush, Director of Rabbinic Internships and Professional Skills Training at RIETS, shared, “We are truly delighted to be working with the Orthodox Union to be placing RIETS students into OU-JLIC internships. Our students are benefiting greatly from the opportunity to shadow OU-JLIC rabbis on college campuses across the country. They get first hand exposure to dynamic rabbinic couples who are impacting the lives of countless college students. Thank you for partnering with us as we prepare the next generation of influential Jewish leadership.
For more information about the fellowship, contact Rabbi Gideon Black at Black@ou.org.