Northwestern to host national Jewish convention

Susan Du

About 100 Jewish students from colleges throughout the Midwest will head to Northwestern from Feb. 24-27 for the 21st annual KOACH Kallah, a national Jewish convention.

The Kallah is organized by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and will feature discussions of what it means to be Jewish on a college campus.

“The non-NU students are coming in from all over the country from campuses large and small to meet people from other schools, study Jewish sources and learn practical skills,” said Weinberg senior Ben Goldberg, chair of the 2011 KOACH Kallah.

Currently, a committee of students and KOACH professionals are working on programming and logistics for the conference. The program is expected to include learning sessions on various Jewish topics, Torah studies, Israel advocacy, workshops for leadership training, community service and socializing in downtown Evanston.

Louis Newman, a religion professor at Carleton College and the conference’s scholar-in-residence, is scheduled to lead discussions on the theme of “Our Values, Our Dollars: Judaism and the Starving College Student.” He will explore what Jewish sources say about how students should allocate their often limited financial resources.

Rabbi Josh Feigelson said the Kallah will focus on exploration of student life from a conservative Jewish standpoint, with which he estimates one third of American Jews identify. Services will include more Hebrew elements and traditional liturgy than the typical reform service but more innovation than the typical orthodox service, such as the integration of female rabbis.

“The Kallah is one of the more significant intercollegiate conferences on the institutional level,” Feigelson said.

This will be the fourth time Kallah is held at NU since the conference’s inception in 1990.

Chicago’s centric location and the availability of Parkes Hall for convention sessions and workshops make the University an attractive host, Goldberg said. Visiting students will stay at Best Western University Plaza, within walking distance of NU’s campus.

NU students participating in the Kallah will receive a grant to cover some costs. Many participants also receive scholarships from KOACH or Hillel.

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