Chabad on Campus International has reported that during the fall and winter semesters alone, 109 students from 42 universities have attended Jewish learning programs with the assistance of their Lamdeni Initiative. The students spend at least three weeks in learning programs based in Israel and the United States.
Lamdeni is directed by a husband-wife team, Rabbi Zalman and Chaya Schurder. The Schurders work closely with Chabad on Campus Shluchim and Shluchos, as well as various Yeshivos, to provide resources which help students attend a learning program. These include one-on-one meetings, guidance on choosing the right program, and help in acquiring travel grants. During the winter semester alone, Chabad on Campus International allocated 98 travel grants, 41 of those to students from South America who attended Machon Alte in Tzfat and a Spanish language program in Migdal HaEmek.
Since Lamdeni was created more than three years ago, it has helped 476 students attend Mayanot, Tiferes Bachurim, Temimei Darech, Torah Ohr Miami, Machon Alte, Machon Le’Yahadus and JSF (Jewish Summer Fellowship). It has also awarded 340 travel grants.
Sarah Solomon, a student currently pursuing a B.Ed. and a B.A. Honours in French at Toronto’s York University, described her journey to a winter study program in Machon Alte. She was encouraged by Rabbi Vidal and Chanah Leah Bekerman, the Shluchim at York University, to reach out to Chaya Schurder to discuss her options for attending Yeshiva. Chabad on Campus International was able to provide Sarah with a travel grant, making it possible for her to attend yeshiva. Sarah described the experience as “truly enlightening, life-changing and probably the best three weeks of my life.”
But the help and guidance Sarah received from Lamdeni and Chabad on Campus International was not limited to the grant. As Sarah relates, “Chaya [Schurder] was always available to help me with any of my questions and concerns. There was never a time I thought I could not count on her. I am so grateful to her.”
Rabbi Dovid Birk, Program Director of the Roitman Chabad Center at Cornell University, also lauded the work of Lamdeni: “Working with Rabbi Schurder really helped make the students’ desire to learn in Yeshiva a reality,” he said. “Not only did he help with the logistics, he also added an element of excitement and enthusiasm to an otherwise challenging process. I have only appreciation for the work that Lamdeni does in helping students get to Yeshiva and get inspired to embrace their Jewish identity.”
Chaya Schurder was full of praise for the Shluchim and students: “Working with the campus Shluchim and their students is always a wonderful experience. The relationship that the Shluchim and students have with each other is truly special, and my goal is to be there for the students in the same way, looking out for them, offering support and ultimately helping them make their dreams a reality.”
Rabbi Zalman Schurder, Co-Director of Lamdeni, explained the benefits that a student gains when enabled and encouraged to attend Yeshiva.
“When a student invests time in exploring their Judaism by attending a study program, they are empowered with Jewish knowledge that will allow them to make informed decisions regarding how they would like to connect in a more meaningful way. This invokes a deep sense of responsibility when deciding the Jewish values their future home will be built upon.”
“Chabad on Campus acts as a home base for Campus Shluchim around the world,” said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, Executive Vice President of Chabad on Campus International. “The Shluchim work with love and dedication, inspiring students to spend a period of their lives immersed in serious Jewish study. Lemdeni provides a clear path to assist the students on this unparalleled journey.”
To learn more about Lamdeni, please visit their website.