The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students find support at Chabad CSUN

Connor Clark
The Rohr Chabad House at CSUN on Sept. 14, 2023, in Northridge, Calif.

The fall 2023 semester has just begun, as CSUN’s clubs and organizations welcome returning and first-year students to participate in their upcoming events with the hopes of gaining new members.

Chabad at CSUN is one of the many organizations dedicated to building a sense of community on campus, with a particular interest in Jewish students. According to their website, the Chabad community at CSUN is made up of Jewish members who have a vision to create a “modern, vibrant student center that offers a compelling, rich, and meaningful Jewish experience.” You can find the Chabad House east of the Student Recreation Center across Zelzah Avenue. Non-Jewish students are also welcomed.

The name Chabad refers to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement during the 18th century, where Chabad leaders fought to keep the practice of Judaism alive. The movement eventually became global following the Holocaust, with a focus on providing for Jews around the world. Chabad is also an acronym formed by the initials of the Hebrew words “chochmah,” “binah,” and “daat,” translating to wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, which the community on campus prides itself on.

A direct result of the movement was the Chabad Houses, which are located worldwide including the CSUN campus. Chabad Houses provide safe spaces for Jews to practice traditions, participate in events, and receive various services. Members can participate in workshops and lessons centered around Judaism. Every Chabad House is supported by a rabbi, who typically serves as a spiritual leader and teacher.

“My job as the rabbi is to personally be there for the students that want to talk, want to learn and enhance their Judaism,” explained Rabbi Chaim Shaul Brook, the co-director of Chabad CSUN.

According to Rabbi Chaim, what makes the Chabad at CSUN unique from traditional Chabad Houses is that there is a major focus on social events and support for college students who need a community.

Chabad provides services such as counseling, “Friendship Circles” for disabled individuals, and volunteering opportunities. Chabad even serves meals for Shabbat, a weekly Jewish tradition. In addition, the Chabad House hosts an event called “Cafe Chabad” every Monday. Members are encouraged to participate and try different meals each week.

“The one thing that I love the most is that if you are studying for something, or you need help with homework, or you just need somewhere to do homework in a place that’s not your home, you can come here any time of the day and you can do it and you can be with people who support you and who can help you,” said Keira Weyss, member of Chabad House.

Chabad at CSUN holds many core values rooted in traditional Judaism. These core values include welcoming every Jew, creating a sense of belonging, Jewish learning, spiritual growth, and practice.

When asked about future plans for Chabad House at CSUN, Rabbi Chaim explained that he would like to reach more students in order to inspire them to be leaders.

“My plans for Chabad would be to be able to reach even more students, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, to inspire them to be leaders and inspire their surroundings, to enhance their acts of goodness and kindness and to connect to their soul and inner purpose in life,” Rabbi Chaim said.

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