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Josh Livingstone

As Northwestern University opened the doors of its fall 2006 semester on its Chicago metropolitan area campus, Jerusalem Kollel Alumni Josh and Tamar Livingstone opened the doors of their exciting new outreach program called Meor. Meor is an international campus outreach organization with affiliates in many large universities. In the short time that they’ve been on campus, the Livingstone’s have been tremendously active in initiating many programs. Aside from special Shabbos programming, they regularly welcome fifty guests to their Shabbos table. They also organize subsided two-week trips to Israel with classes that explore Judaism and an exciting itinerary that leaves them with an unforgettable of experience the land and its people. One particularly successful venture has been the Maimonides Jewish Leaders Fellowship, a ten-week learning course featuring world renowned speakers from across the globe and designed to help students tap into the wisdom of their Jewish heritage. The fellowship attracted a full-capacity enrolment. The Livingstone’s also oversee one-on-one study sessions for many students, and their events generally attract at least thirty students. The impact that they have had on Jewish life on campus and their success in forming relationships with the students can perhaps best be encapsulated in the words of the students themselves:

“The Rabbi and his wife are the most welcoming people I ever met.”
- Marguerite Summer, Human Development and Psychological Services School of Education and School Policy

“…the door opened and about forty smiling Northwestern faces greeted me while the delicious smell of home-baked challah drew me to the table.”
- Sirena Rubinoff, Medill 2007 (Broadcast Journalism)

“In addition to being approachable, easy to talk to and hilarious, Rabbi Livingstone helped me to understand some fundamental questions about Judaism in our one-on-one meetings.”
- Marc Cohen, Political Science Major

“The program was a great way for me to learn more about how Judaism fits in with my every day life.”
- Monica Gomberg, Biology Major

Rabbi Livingstone tells an incredible story which illuminates the fantastic work they are doing on the campus. “A certain student told me that both her mother's and father’s parents were Jewish, but had all converted to Christianity. They were divorced when she was very young, and she was then raised by her father. He did not practice any religion and, because he had felt unwelcome in the Christian church, he sent her to a Hindu prep school. She eventually came to Northwestern for college, where she applied for a Birthright trip in which she fell in love with Israel. The Jewish people were warm and welcoming to her, and she felt a sense of community, identity and belonging for the very first time. Once back on campus, she was directed by her friends towards us, and after meeting us and getting involved in Meor, she has now enrolled in our winter Israel trip and our learning programs, as well as coming for Shabbat and baking challah with my wife every week. She is so eager to learn and connect to the community that welcomed her. We feel so fortunate to be able to reach out to a Jew who was left so far away from her heritage.”