Tufts Chabad to offer new courses focused on Jewish learning
Tufts Chabad, a center for Jewish life on campus, is introducing new courses that cover a wide variety of topics, including Talmudic Perspectives on Today’s Perspectives and Outsmarting Anti-Semitism. Chabad will offer these courses in partnership with JewishU, a national organization dedicated to Jewish learning on college campuses.
Rabbi Tzvi Backman, director of Chabad, explained that members of the Tufts community have expressed a desire to learn more about their heritage.
“We hope the courses offered by JewishU will help fill that need,” Rabbi Backman wrote in an email to The Daily.
In selecting these courses, Chanie Backman, director of the Chabad program, sought to include a multitude of different subjects and learning styles. With Tzvi Backman, she reviewed past conversations and interests to gauge which courses to choose. However, if students wish to learn more about a topic that is not currently offered, Chabad is ready to accommodate student interest in these topics.
Tzvi Backman emphasized that Chabad’s goal is to respond to community and student feedback.
“We will likely make adjustments as we assess over time which topics [are] actually of greater interest to the community,” he wrote.
Administrators have high hopes for the impact these courses can have on the Tufts community.
“We hope, individually, that the students can grow in their own spiritual journey, and also that it helps build a Jewish community in a stronger way,” Chanie Backman said.
She also hopes that these courses will provide students with a deeper understanding of their relationship to religion, creating valuable and safe learning experiences for anyone interested in learning more about Judaism.
“The path to really owning this journey, owning this process, really owning your Judaism is having experiences…just being able to explore in a comfortable, safe environment,” Chanie Backman said.
Mia Rabinovich, co-chair of Chabad, agrees that these new offerings will help promote an inclusive learning environment for Jewish studies on campus.
“Coming to Tufts, if I knew these classes were offered, I would be so happy because I was very worried about Jewish life here and possible anti-Semitism,” said sophomore Rabinovich.
Rabinovich also noted that the introduction of these classes makes her feel that Tufts values Judaism and her religious experiences, which she sees as key to combating anti-Semitism.
“As Jewish students learn more about their Judaism, they in turn become a source of knowledge and inspiration to their peers within the Tufts community and in the communities they will be part of in the future,” Tzvi Backman wrote. . “[The courses] will bring added strength and vibrancy to the Jewish community of Tufts and the Jewish communities they will be part of throughout their lives.
Chanie Backman noted that there are no prerequisites needed to engage in these courses. The eight courses are marketed as “bite-sized learning for busy students,” with each divided into four short classes.
Speaking about the new opportunities offered by Chabad to enrich the Jewish community, Chanie Backman expressed her desire to continue to improve Jewish life on campus.
“The sky’s the limit,” Chanie Backman said.