PRINCETON, NJ — Princeton University appointed Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Eitan Webb as an official chaplain after a student-driven campaign to afford the local Chabad House full recognition. The move represents a complete reversal of a administrative decision last year to deny Webb the post.
This week’s decision paves the way for greater visibility on the Ivy League campus. Symbolically, however, the appointment is much more meaningful.
“It means that the university has given us their trust,” said Webb, who has co-directed the Chabad House with wife Gitty Webb for the past six years. “The university has strictures in place for everything they do, so when they say that they’re willing to affiliate with a certain group, that’s a very good thing.”
University president Shirley Tilghman told The Daily Princetonian student newspaper that the about face on this chaplaincy issue – previously, only the executive director of Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life held the title of chaplain – came about largely because of students’ testimony that both the CJL and the Chabad House served complementary, rather than opposing roles.