Chanukah came early this year for the Jewish students and faculty at Florida International University – one of America’s most dynamic institutions of higher learning – with the recent opening of the first Chabad House on campus to serve the needs of FIU’s Jewish community. Rabbi Levi and Sashie Friedman, the newly appointed directors of Chabad at FIU, bring a unique warmth and enthusiasm to their post and are using the upcoming Chanukah holiday to jumpstart their ambitious agenda.
The first campus-wide program the Friedmans have scheduled is the lighting of huge Chanukah Menorahs at FIU’s two Miami campuses. A gala program is planned with Jewish music, gifts and hot latkes for all. Dr. Raul Moncarz, the vice provost of the university will be honored with kindling the menorah.
Friedman said that several classes have already been started on both campuses and a full schedule of classes, seminars and lectures, including Kabbalah study, will be available shortly. “There are approximately 3000 Jewish students and many Jewish faculty members at FIU and there is an acute need for a full time Jewish organization to operate on campus” he said. “All of the students and faculty we have met expressed the opinion that the opening of our Chabad House is very welcome and long overdue.”
Rabbi and Mrs. Friedman each bring a rich background of community outreach experience to their new post. Rabbi Friedman, a graduate of the Rabbinical College of Greater Miami has served on several college campuses in the U.S. and has worked on programs for Jewish youth in Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. Sashie Friedman has a degree in early childhood education and has worked with young people in Perth, Australia, on a variety of student and community programs.
The Friedmans are the proud parents of Chaya Moussia, and a newborn son, Yaakov Moshe.