NEW OU “JEWNIVERSITY RESOURCES APP” TELLS STUDENTS ABOUT JEWISH LIFE AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON
To what extent might a college campus offer kosher food? What options exist to observe Shabbat? Where can minyanim be found? Who can be contacted for social and learning opportunities? Which Jewish organizations can be found at which universities?
The first of its kind “Jewniversity Resources App,” free for iPhones, iPads and featured online at www.bit.ly/JewUMap, created by the Orthodox Union’s NextGen Division is now available, specifically designed to assist the Jewish student to answer to these questions and more, with the click of a button.
OU NextGen includes NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Heart to Heart and the Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) program.
The App allows college students to better familiarize themselves with Jewish life on campus, and serves as a useful tool for high school students to research colleges they may potentially apply to.
Available at the iTunes App Store, Jewniversity Resources offers information for more than 100 campuses—from Adelphi University in New York to York University in Toronto—across the United States, Canada and Israel.
The OU JLIC program partners with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life to support Jewish students attending secular universities by assigning Orthodox rabbinic couples to work as part of the Hillel professional team. The couple, known as Torah Educators, serve as Jewish educators, role models and community organizers on campus; have developed a unique methodology centered on relationship building, Jewish learning, enhancing of community and communal infrastructure; pastoral and halachic counseling; and student leadership development.
JLIC (currently found on 16 universities across the United States and Canada) campuses include: Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Princeton University, Queens College, Rutgers University, UCLA, University of Guelph, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University and York University/University of Toronto.
Heart to Heart is a grassroots movement found across North America, operating within the OU NextGen Division. Its focus is for active Jewish students “to share the beauty of Torah Judaism with non-active Jewish students who are living in their dorms and attending the same classes – friends sharing what they love with their friends,” according to Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Director of OU NextGen.
Jewniversity Resources has been prepared with knowledge that there are many organizations providing resources for a meaningful Jewish experience, from community colleges to the most selective four-year schools. Information on the App also includes contacts and services provided by national organizations such as Aish HaTorah, Aish Connections, Hillel, Chabad, MEOR, and local groups.
“The App was created to assist in enabling students to lead full Orthodox lives and take full advantage of the university experience at all levels,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck, director of OU Alumni Connections.
According to Rabbi Marchuck, collecting and regularly updating Jewish resources on campuses has been a work-in-progress by the OU NextGen Division for the past few years using social media, student surveys, and professional networking. The information allows the OU to stay connected with alumni, and to understand the Jewish opportunities and challenges within university life to better provide for Jewish students.
Rabbi Marchuck added that a project of such complexity will be continually updated—both in terms of adding information to campuses already listed, and adding new campuses to the list. More advanced featured of the App, to enhance the experience once on campus, are expected to come out in the near future; along with a user-version for Android.
The App only lists universities with Jewish resources. Any resources regarding religious observance, culture, or food are not necessarily endorsed by the OU. App users are advised to check with their local Orthodox rabbi with any questions they may have.
OU | Enhancing Jewish Life