Rabbi Yankel and Chana Oster will arrive in St. Louis right before Chanukah to assume the directorship role of JGrads St. Louis. For the first time, there will be a dedicated shliach and shlucha dedicated expressly to the large community of Jewish graduate students in St. Louis.
Since 2002, Chabad at WashU has served thousands of Jewish students each year. Located adjacent to WashU’s undergraduate campus, the focus is placed on undergraduate students, both from WashU and other local colleges and universities.
Chabad is always bustling. Many hundreds of Jewish students pass through Chabad’s doors weekly, where they find the critical connection, inspiration, and support that Chabad uniquely provides. Every Jewish student knows they have a home at Chabad.
However, there is another entire demographic of students that deserves and requires its own range of programming and support. Hundreds of Jewish students attend graduate programs annually at over 20 schools and programs such as SLU, UMSL, Webster, and Washington University. More mature and career focused, these Jewish graduate students form their own distinct niche in Chabad’s network. Yet, until now, Chabad has struggled to cater to this demographic and to provide them with a home of their own.
To address this need, Chabad on Campus in the St. Louis region is excited to welcome Rabbi Yankel and Chana Oster to serve as directors of the JGrads program. Starting from when they arrive in time for Chanukah, and for the first time, there will be a shliach and shlucha dedicated expressly to Jewish graduate students in St. Louis. Appointed by Rabbi Hershey and Chana Novack under the leadership of Rabbi Yosef Landa, the regional director of Chabad in St. Louis, the Osters will be able to capitalize on the Novack’s direction and guidance, benefitting from their over 20 years of experience.
Dozens of graduate students are already connected with Chabad, and with dedicated shluchim, this number is bound to grow. Students are already expressing their excitement. “We greatly enjoyed when Yankel and Chana came for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and we are very excited about their return for the long term,” said one student. The Osters’ arrival could not come at a more critical time. The crisis and war in Israel has shaken Jewish students to the core, and the need for support and Yiddishkeit has only intensified.
“We came to visit for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur,” said Chana. “Over fifty students showed up to the events we made, and that was without knowing anybody. The students were literally asking for us to stay and to do more.”
The Osters have launched a campaign to raise seed money for their new shlichus. You can donate here.
As the Osters set out on this new shlichus, much gratitude is due to Chabad on Campus International for facilitating this beautiful endeavor with support from The Rohr Foundation through the New Shluchim Initiative.