I see it as a privilege to work with students, helping them navigate their way through these crucial years. Providing a warm Jewish homely atmosphere, a Jewish thought or just being there for the individual student in his or her time of need.
Rabbi Fishel Cohen
Fishel is one of our longest serving chaplains. He joined in August 1984 and originally comes from Manchester. He has four grown-up sons and lives in Birmingham.
Where are you from?
I see it as a privilege to work with students, helping them navigate their way through these crucial years.
How can you help students?
I provide students with a warm Jewish homely atmosphere, a Jewish thought at the regular bagel lunches and by being there for individual students in his or her time of need.
I also meet with University management on a regular basis, support individual students should they have an exam on Shabbat, and attend academic hearings with them.
What do you enjoy doing most with students?
- Small events like bagel lunches that I run on the campuses with small Jewish populations where I get the opportunity to build relationships with individual students.
- Trademark events such as our themed Purim Banquet and Simchat Torah Hakafot with hundreds of students.
- Spending time chatting with small groups of students or individuals and attending their weddings!
What do you want students to take away from their Jewish experience at uni?
That Judaism is fun and is relevant to them today.
Who or what has influenced your work?
I was inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s love for every Jew, regardless of their level of observance and his passion strengthening Jewish communities. It was with his blessing that I took up the position of Chaplain to students in the Midlands.
What prepared you for this role?
Community work during my years in yeshiva. Visiting Israeli soldiers on their army bases to celebrate Chanukah and Purim with them, teaching school children on a weekly basis, weekly visits to shops and businesses with Jewish workers and visits to prisoners in New York State Prisons.
Other than Judaism, following sports
Where did you go to yeshiva / university?
Kfar Chabad, Israel Central Lubavitch Yeshiva, New York