By Michelle Knight/Camarillo Acorn
The lighting of a 9-foot-high menorah marked the grand opening of the Chabad Jewish Student Center at California State University Channel Islands last week.
The university is home to about 115 Jewish students and faculty members.
City and business representatives joined university officials in welcoming the Jewish center to the campus.
George Morten, assistant vice president for student affairs, said the center and other faith-based student organizations are important components in the school’s mission of inclusion and diversity.
“The goal really for the campus is to encourage students to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially, and this organization makes that possible.”
Rabbi Aryeh Lang said the Camarillo University now joins the likes of Harvard, USC and UC Santa Barbara in having a campus-based Chabad.
“We’re very excited that our own CSUCI has its own Chabad on campus,” said Lang, who opened the Gan Camarillo Preschool in Old Town earlier this year.
The Chabad will be open to anyone interested in learning about Judaism. Lang called it a “home away from home” for university students and faculty and a place where they can discover their Jewish heritage.
Rabbi Ariel Rav-Noy, the center’s director, said having a Chabad at the university “is vital” in helping young Jewish college students perpetuate the Jewish faith and tradition.
Rav-Noy said he has a number of educational and social events already planned for the center, such as pizza and Torah readings on Thursday afternoons and Friday Shabbat dinners.
Rav-Noy said women’s events with a Jewish theme, field trips with other university-based Chabads, a crash course in what it means to be Jewish and a Hebrew reading course are also planned.