Shluchim from twenty universities throughout Europe gathered in London this weekend for Chabad on Campus Europe’s annual conference.
Photos by Ephraim Levine
Chabad on Campus directors and their families, representing twenty universities from throughout Europe, gathered in London this weekend for Chabad on Campus Europe’s annual conference.
The conference, hosted by Chabad on Campus International, represents the focal point of the year for many European based Chabad on Campus emissaries and provides a critical opportunity to share practical experience and programming successes with the broader base of Chabad on Campus’s European presence.
The 2020 EU conference featured a dynamic range of panels and breakout sessions focused on many of the most pressing issues Impacting Jewish life on university campuses across Europe. From enhancing security protocol and educational initiatives to implementing new and innovative programming, the conference provided the basis to discuss many key factors impacting university rabbis and rebbetzins.
Bringing together seasoned Campus Rabbis and Rebbetzins with decades of experience with those innovating the field of community and campus engagement, the annual conference illuminated the successes and means to overcome adversity throughout Chabad’s global student centers and gave practical steps to run an effective student center while sustaining family spirituality and connection.
According to Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International, “The European conference provides a dynamic and interactive forum for discussing the broad issues facing Chabad on campus emissaries across Europe. With its warm family atmosphere, lively panels, world-class speakers and a host of Chabad’s most innovative thinkers, the conference was a valuable and meaningful experience for all in attendance.”
Some of the most thought-provoking panels from this year’s gathering included:
Devora Hertzel of Chabad of Tzfat led a roundtable conversation on the role a campus Jewish leader’s personal skill set plays in their engagement with the broader university community. By providing tangible tools and real-life experience Hertzel simplified the complex balance of managing a Jewish student center, with the individual desires and personal goals of those running it.
Rabbi Levi Wolvovsky, Director of Chabad of Tuscany, led a panel touching on how to maintain focus and overcome adversity in day to day student engagement.
Rabbi Avi Weinstein, COO of Chabad on Campus International points out that while the conference featured numerous opportunities to learn from experienced emissaries, one broader theme that permeated every aspect of the event was family. “60 children joined the kids conference-camp where they participated in their own set of programming and got to spend time with other children who share the same unique experience of growing up in a Chabad on Campus center,” said Weinstein.
Mrs. Rochel Leigh, Co-Director of Chabad of Cambridge University said: “What truly made the conference meaningful was seeing the smile on my four-year-old daughter’s face after the conference camp program. She has met so many new friends who share her experience living in a Chabad House. It was as though my daughter was at a large family gathering with her cousins. This parallels the feeling my older children and I share, that we are all part of the Chabad on Campus family.”
Rabbi Yanki Jacobs, Director of Chabad of Amsterdam, echoed Leigh’s views stating: “the 2019 Chabad on Campus EU Conference represented a massive undertaking of time and careful contemplation into the matters most impacting Chabad on Campus directors. The resulting conference produced an experience that was productive, motivating and inspiring for our family and all in attendance.”