Connect Jewish students to each other, their heritage, and their Jewish future.
Meet Rabbi Zalman and Nechama
In March of 2006, Rabbi Zalman and Nechama Tiechtel arrived in Lawrence, Kansas along with their infant daughter Mina. Unpacking their belongings and moving into a small duplex just a stone’s throw from the KU campus, they embarked on a journey to establish a “Home Away From Home” for the thousands of Jewish students at KU.
Starting off with just a dollar and a dream, they celebrated their first Shabbat in Lawrence with six guests at their dinner table. Today, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at KU has grown by leaps and bounds, with hundreds of Jewish students from all walks of life joining celebrating Jewish life with Chabad at KU.
From the ongoing classes and programs on campus and residence halls, to the campus-wide holiday celebrations, Chabad at KU has become a beacon of a light and an anchor of Jewish learning and values amidst the many challenges facing today’s young college students.
Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel grew up in the heart of the Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, and spent his teenage years studying in the Holy Land of Israel. After a two year stint in Paris, France, he concluded his Rabbinical studies in the Central Chabad Yeshiva in New York. As a Rabbinic intern he led Jewish communities in Russia, France, Germany and across the United States. As a child, he dreamed of one day establishing a Chabad Center to fulfill the mandate of the Lubavitcher Rebbe of doing our part to change the world for the better.
Mrs. Nechama Tiechtel was born in Canada and spent her formative years in Oak Park, Michigan. She studied at the Beth Chaya Mushka Schools and graduated with honors in 2004. She went on to complete a year of advanced Judaic studies in Melbourne, Australia. As Co-director of the Chabad center, Nechama directs Chabad’s multi-faceted programs for students and also coordinates the many children’s programs that Chabad offers for the entire Lawrence community. Her joyous disposition and approachable demeanor has earned her much respect and many friends in the community. She possesses the unique talent and ability to inspire people of all ages.
The Tiechtel’s philosophy is to view every Jew as a part of their family. It is this non-judgmental attitude and welcoming environment that has created the warm and vibrant Jewish community at the University of Kansas and the city of Lawrence. Along with their dear children, the Tiechtel’s are excited each and every day to do their part in creating a space where every Jew is truly family.
The Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Life
at KU is dedicated to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
His passionate and uncompromising love for every Jew insisting that all Jews are equal, regardless of background or affiliation; his love and devotion for the land of Israel, and His love for G-d, the Torah, and for all mankind.
These are the beacons of truth and love that continue to guide and inspire us.
Predicated on the Mitzvah of “V’Ahavta L’Re’a’cha Kamocha – love your neighbor as yourself,” we seek to foster a sense of Jewish identity and belonging by engaging Jewish students at their own pace and comfort level in a warm and non-judgmental environment, and by offering innovative educational programs in all areas of Jewish life.
Love for our fellow Jew is our motivation, inspired by Chassidic teachings and the vision and love of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Our dedication to serve is not a career choice- it is a life choice, a 24/7 100% commitment.
What is Chabad?
Chabad is a worldwide movement that spreads Jewish awareness to all Jews, men and women, old and young. Its roots are in White Russia in a small town by the name of Lubavitch. The word Chabad is an acronym for Chachmah, Binah, Daas, which means wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The idea is to turn intellect to action. Simply put, Chabad’s message is “don’t just think it, do it”. This is exactly what Chabad does. Chabad Houses can be found in every part of the world, such as, Tasmania, Russia , Hawaii, and Bangkok and in each one of those places Chabad is doing everything it can to help Jews lead a more meaningful Jewish life. Today, there are over 2700 Chabad centers in 44 states and 60 countries.
What does Chabad do on campus?
Chabad at KU serves as a “Home Away From Home” for countless Jewish students at KU, with the goal of anticipating and serving the needs of the students on a social, educational and spiritual level with a diverse variety of programs and activities. In addition to the many exciting ongoing programs and events, Chabad provides kosher Shabbat and holiday meals free of charge to students that are legendary. Chabad’s Rabbi Zalman and Mrs. Nechama Tiechtel both have incredible knowledge in many areas of Judaism, and are ready to listen to your concerns and answer your questions. Most importantly, Chabad is your home away from home.
What does Chabad offer to the local community?
The Chabad Center provides an array of services and opportunities for the Jewish communities of Lawrence, Topeka and Manhattan Kansas, and the surrounding areas. Our activities range from Family holiday celebrations, to adult education, programs for children and youth and more. It is our goal to be the Google for anything Jewish, providing resources for anything Jewish, anytime.
Do only religious people come to Chabad?
Ha! Chabad is a place for all Jews regardless of their affiliations or ties. Many of the students who come to Chabad are not religious, some with a little Jewish education, and others with none at all. One of the exciting things about Chabad is one can meet people from all walks of life.
What happens if I don’t know what to do?
Don’t worry, everyone is learning and one has to start sometime, and what better place than at Chabad? There is always someone willing to help you.
What purpose do the labels ‘Orthodox’, ‘Conservative’ and ‘Reform’ serve?
Truthfully a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Labels are for shirts and not for people. What defines our Jewishness has nothing to do with our level of observance or affiliation, it is who we are at the core. Labels are totally meaningless at best, and at worst, divisive.
All this is great, but how do I join?
We’re open to every person that moves! Click here if you would like to be added to our email list and find out about all the resources we have available for you.
But wait! How much does it cost?
Usually nothing! Just bring yourself and lots of friends! Of course, student leaders can expect to be more active. Email us if you are interested in applying to be a student leader.
So how much time do I have to dedicate to Chabad activities?
College students have very busy lives and this is completely understood. Some students come to dinner and stay for a few minutes while others stay for a few hours. Everyone is welcome.
- To serve as an educational resource for the next generation of Jewish leaders and thinkers.
- To encourage students to explore and deepen their Jewish identity through education, traditional service, and connection with Israel.
- To become a model for engaging students in a way that recognizes the unique qualities.
How we do it
- Welcome students of all backgrounds to explore their Jewish identity.
- Create a safe space for discussion about Israeli history and politics.
- Provide a rich program of Jewish cultural, educational, and religious activities – from discussion groups, to mentoring, to Shabbat dinners and holiday observances.
- Maintain a home-away-from-home environment with residential directors who are responsive to the individual needs of each student.