UCLA has everything that an Orthodox student needs

To the Editor:

We recently encountered the article published in The Boiling Point last year (October 2010), exploring Jewish life on campus (click here to see the referenced article).  As the OU’s Torah Educators at UCLA, we felt it necessary to clarify, and expand upon, the description of the Jewish community at UCLA.  While it is certainly true that “no University of California campuses have observant communities like the ones at NYU, Brandeis, or Maryland,” Orthodox life at UCLA extends far beyond Kosher food at the Hillel and the opportunity to live in the Bayit.

Orthodox students are offered a rich and meaningful experience at UCLA, because UCLA is one of fifteen campuses nationally that hosts JLIC, The Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus.  JLIC is an important partnership between the OU and Hillel that is designed to enable, and enrich, the lives of Orthodox students on campus.  This program is now in its eleventh year at UCLA and has succeeded in creating a dynamic, welcoming, fully-functioning Orthodox community on campus.  Through JLIC there are daily minyanim for Shachrit, Mincha and Maariv, ongoing shiurim and chaburot and tens of individual chevrutot between students and the JLIC Educators weekly.  A full Shabbat program exists throughout the academic year, including minyanim and free meals at Hillel both Friday night and Saturday, and JLIC hosts all Chagim on campus.  There are hundreds of meals eaten in the Sukkah, multiple Megillah readings luxurious Pesach Sedarim  and full Rosh Hahsonah and Yom Kippur experiences, all conveniently located at Hillel near campus and all meeting the highest standards of Kashrut and Halacha.  Over 150 students, including Shalhevet graduates, are estimated to be part of JLIC at UCLA annually, and there are considerable number of Orthodox students who have succeeded in meeting their spouses at UCLA.

JLIC is instrumental in defining the college experience of Jewish students nationally.  Students are encouraged to visit JLIConline.org to learn which campuses currently offer JLIC communities and to explore the details of their offerings. Students and their parents are also welcome to contact us directly.  Finally, we would be more than happy to visit Shalhevet to speak about Jewish life on campus and the important role of JLIC.

Respectfully Submitted,

Aryeh and Sharona Kaplan
OU’s JLIC Torah Educators
Hillel at UCLA
November 29, 2011