Wellesley College drops Hillel director, Jewish chaplain posts

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Wellesley College eliminated the posts of Hillel director and Jewish chaplain.

The two part-time positions at the all-female school in suburban Boston were removed last week, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

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The college, which pays the salaries of the Wellesley Hillel staffers, said it decided to restructure and will hire a full-time rabbi to serve as Jewish chaplain, according to Haaretz. An interim Hillel director was hired to work nights four to eight hours a week.

The university reportedly made the decision without input from students, alumni or other stakeholders.

“It makes me and other students feel like we just lost our support system and are on our own,” Tali Marcus, a senior psychology major who is co-president of Wellesley Friends of Israel, told the newspaper.

The campus has been beset by tensions between the pro-Palestinian and Jewish communities since early in the fall semester.

Shortly after Israel’s military operation in Gaza had ended, posters featuring the images of Palestinian children who were killed or wounded appeared on dining hall walls, Haaretz reported.

Jewish students reportedly asked the university officials to intercede on the anti-Israel incidents on campus. Haaretz reported that the Wellesley administration did not respond to questions about the request or anti-Israel activities.

Also, a monthly dialogue between pro-Palestinian and Jewish students fell apart at the first meeting of the term.

About 10 percent of the Wellesley student body of 2,700 is Jewish.