Angels of Mersey

By Marcus Dysch
April 3, 2012

Among the most valuable work being done to help Jewish students around the country is that of the dozens of chaplaincy families employed by organisations representing all spectrums of Jewish life.

New BBC documentary Angels of Mersey follows chaplains of all religions working in Liverpool. Among them is Rabbi Shmuli Brown, Chabad’s representative at universities in the city.

Last night’s episode showed him at work and featured his efforts to engage with young Jews arriving for Freshers’ Week. Rabbi Brown explained how he is contacted by worried parents and carries out meticulous online research to find out who will be studying on Merseyside and what assistance they might need.

While many Jewish families know of chaplains’ efforts, such work regularly goes unpublicised – largely for sensitivity reasons.

For every story about a Chabad dinner or gala fundraiser, there are half a dozen more about the help offered to students with eating disorders, drug problems, or homesickness that go untold.

University Jewish Chaplaincy, which has a dozen couples living and working across the length and breadth of the country, often finds itself in a conundrum: much of their most valuable work is sufficiently sensitive that those who have been helped cannot even tell their family or friends of the assistance they have received.

Getting the word out to parents is vital, especially for organisations largely dependent on charitable donations during difficult economic times.

The more that can be done to raise awareness of student chaplains, the better.

Watch Angels of Mersey here.

Read more about Rabbi Brown and Liverpool Chabad here, and follow him on Twitter here.


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