High demand for Jewish uni chaplains

Rabbi Gavin Broder, London student chaplain, with UCL JSoc members

Rabbi Gavin Broder, London student chaplain, with UCL JSoc members

An unprecedented level of demand from students has led University Jewish Chaplaincy to recruit extra staff for a range of new roles.

Requests for assistance with a variety of social, educational and welfare-related problems has stretched the country's team of 10 chaplains.

In response, UJC has created two new roles to cover JSocs in London and the north east.

From September, a project officer will work with London chaplain Rabbi Gavin Broder to provide extra help.

UJC chief executive Ian Kamiel said: "London is a huge patch for Rabbi Broder to cover. There are 26 JSocs and 2,500 Jewish students. There is a real mix, with many students living at home.

"We do a lot of work in the capital with Orthodox students on exam clashes and other aspects covering religious issues. The new officer will give more support to the JSocs and serve as another pair of hands."

A part-time chaplaincy couple will also begin work in Durham and Newcastle, where there is a thriving Jewish student scene. The region has previously been covered by Scotland chaplain Rabbi Garry Wayland.

Mr Kamiel said: "Covering the north east with Scotland brought geographical challenges. There's such a dynamic JSoc scene in Scotland, with Aberdeen and St Andrews as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh. Durham has really gathered momentum and they understandably wanted more out of the chaplain. But it's impossible for him to be in three places at once."

New chaplaincy couples will be installed at two universities where the current incumbents are moving on.

In Nottingham, Rabbi Yochanan Pereira and his wife Jodie are leaving following a successful period at one of the fastest growing Jewish student communities.

A similar full-time role is also available in Leeds, with Rabbi Alan Garber and his wife Tanya leaving to work in Sydney, Australia.

Mr Kamiel added: "These are challenging economic times and we need to work hard on our fundraising, but we are committed and this is what we do. The demand and need are there and we are committed to doing it."

Last updated: 1:58pm, May 13 2010