OU’s JLIC First Annual Awards Ceremony to Honor Three Couples, Monday, June 1

08 May 2009

First, there were the Golden Globes, then the Oscars, and now, the Orthodox Union’s Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) will present its first Annual Awards Ceremony. The three JLIC couples being honored are: Rabbi Eli and Naomi Kohl, of the University of Maryland; Rabbi Josh and Rivky Ross, formerly of Cornell and Princeton University; and Rabbi Yehuda and Michelle Sarna of New York University. The event will take place on Monday, June 1, 7:00 p.m., at the Rosenthal Pavilion at the Kimmel Center, New York University, located at 60 Washington Square South, New York City.

The JLIC program, now in its ninth year, features intensive study of Jewish texts, Sabbath and holiday observance, daily synagogue services, as well as mentoring and good companionship. It is dedicated to the enhancement of Orthodox communities on campus by promoting positive growth and identity among Jewish students, therefore serving as one of the incubators of the future of Orthodoxy.

JLIC is a fixture on fifteen college campuses. Besides for the University of Maryland, Cornell and Princeton, and New York University, JLIC is located at Brooklyn College; Boston University; Brandeis University; University of Massachusetts/Amherst; Yale University; Rutgers University; University of Pennsylvania; Johns Hopkins; University of Illinois; UCLA; and York University/University of Toronto in Canada.

Rabbi Menachem Schrader, Founding Director of JLIC, and Rabbi Ilan Haber, National Director, will travel from their home base in Israel attend the event.

Rabbi Haber continued, “Our educators invest a great deal of themselves in bringing high-quality education and warmth to their respective campuses. The Awards Ceremony is an excellent opportunity to show hakarat hatov (gratitude and appreciation) for their contributions and to publicize their work in the broader Jewish community.”

Rabbi Haber then praised each pair of honorees. Of the Kohls, he declared, “The University of Maryland is now one of the largest and most important destinations for modern Orthodox college students. Rabbi Eli and Naomi Kohl are extremely personable and easygoing, and have succeeded in connecting with hundreds of students from different backgrounds and with different needs. “

He continued, “The Rosses served JLIC for six years, first at Cornell and then at Princeton. They left a formidable impression on students, many of whom are still in touch with them years later. They are multi-talented educators, and programmers. Through creativity, charismatic leadership and attention to detail they were able to make significant qualitative improvements to the communities in which they worked.”

And finally, Rabbi Haber said of the Sarnas, “Rabbi Yehuda and Michelle Sarna have served the NYU Orthodox community faithfully for seven years, stewarding it through what could only be described as exponential growth. While they are well-known for their caring, intelligence, talent and charisma, I have been mostly impressed by their driving personal commitment to excellence. It is inspiring that after all these years, their passion, self-reflection and creativity are still there. We are proud of all the honorees and greatly appreciate their dedication and hard work.”

A light buffet reception will be served, followed by the awards program at 8:00. The night’s entertainment will feature Kol Ish, the all-male a capella group of the University of Maryland.

The event will also serve as a fundraiser, or benefit, for JLIC. The cost is $200 for a single ticket; $360 for a couple; and $65 for a student or young alumnus. Those who wish to support JLIC in a greater capacity can be listed in the Diploma of Honor and enjoy two tickets for admission as well. The sponsorship opportunities are as follows: $10,000 earns you the distinction of “Lifetime Learner”; $5,000 a Ph.D.; $2,500 for a Master’s Degree; $1,000 for a Bachelor’s Degree; and $500 for an Associate’s Degree. A student or young alumnus can also be listed in the Diploma with a contribution of $36.

Those who wish to attend should respond by Monday, May 18. Checks should be made out to Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus and sent to The Orthodox Union, Attn: Simone Geller, 11 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, New York, 10004. For more information, contact Elaine Grossman at 212-614-8350 or e-mail jlic@ou.org.