This year a second campus couple will be joining the Beren Campus community – Rabbi Yisroel Meir and Mrs. Elisheva Rosenzweig. The couple comes in addition to Rabbi Daniel and Mrs. Lerner, who are continuing their role as the campus rabbinic couple.
Rabbi Rosenzweig, who has smicha from RIETS, has substantial experience working as a community leader and educator. For the past two years he has learned in the Torah MiTzion Kollel in Toronto, where he worked to engage the various members of the community through chavrutot, shuirim, organizing a wide range of learning events, and motzaei shabbat kumsitzes. He also worked as a Rabbinic Assistant at the Clayton Park Synagogue in Toronto where he lectured on a wide array of topics and assisted in coordinating the shul’s programming. Rabbi Rosenzweig has also worked as a Judaic Studies teacher and Rabbinic Educator in Nashville, Tennessee, and as a teacher’s assistant in the Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan. In addition to his experience as a Jewish educator and community leader, Rabbi Rosenzweig also has a BA in Music Theory and Composition from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. Regarding his new position, Rabbi Rosenzweig said he was most excited “for the chance to share in the lives of others. I love giving shiurim and teaching Torah, but it is truly amazing to be a part of others’ lives in the process.”
Mrs. Rosenzweig is a speech-language pathologist and auditory verbal therapist, coaching parents of children with hearing loss in how to help their children learn to listen and talk. In the past three years she has built her own private practice while concurrently pursuing a PhD at Columbia’s Teachers College in the Department of Deaf Education, where she also teaches in the Teacher of the Deaf Master’s Degree Program. When speaking to the Observer, Mrs. Rosenzweig said, “I am where I am today because many strong and smart women have been, and continue to be, my mentors. I hope to be that for students at Stern.”
Both Rabbi and Mrs. Rosenzweig described their time at university as highly formative. Rabbi Rosenzweig pointed to local Rabbi he befriended during his undergraduate experience as a great influence on the “growth I was able to achieve”. Mrs. Rosenzweig similarly expressed gratitude towards the Chabad campus couple at her graduate school who “made such a difference in my life” and who are “still dear friends to this day.” They emphasized that they are “excited to give back” in the way that those mentors gave to them.
The two also expressed their excitement for shabbat on campus, but also emphasized their eagerness to interact and make connections with students beyond the traditional paradigm of Shabbat programming. “Though Shabbat is kind of the ‘main event,’” Mrs. Rosenzweig noted, “I am also excited about just life with all of you each week–-being part of the big and small things that make up your college experience. I’m looking forward to attending your sporting events, concerts, art shows, and just chatting in the lounge or cafeteria. We want to be here for all of you, even if you don’t stay in for Shabbat.”
Making Beren campus a more welcoming environment, especially in regards to Shabbat programming, has been a continuous topic of discussion at Stern for the past number of years. Rumblings that Stern and YC are inferior to the homey environments of other campuses and their Hillels or chabads can be frequently heard by a number of students. This new hire, in addition to a handful of other administrative and student initiatives like ensuring a more frequent Shabbat minyan on Beren campus, bears the marks of an improved and determined strategy in dealing with the issue.
Commenting on the new hire, Dean of Students, Dr. Nissel stated that “we are thrilled to have Rabbi and Mrs. Rosenzweig join the Beren Campus community as an additional campus couple. Having both the Lerners and Rosenzweigs living on campus will offer greater availability for students to form connections with these inspirational couples over Shabbat and evening programming.”
Rabbi Brander similarly described the new arrangement as an opportunity for students to have “multiple portals of spiritual entry on campus.”