The Klehr Center for Jewish Life at Franklin & Marshall College was dedicated last week in a Sunday afternoon ceremony. Named for F & M alumni Susan Kline Klehr '73 and husband Leonard M. Klehr '72, the 6,500 square foot facility is environmentally friendly and comprises a living room, dining room, sanctuary/library space, seminar room, and offices for Hillel staff and student organizations.
(Left to Right) Dean Kent Trachte, Rabbi Bruce Bromberg Seltzer and President John Fry with chuppah designed by Hillel Program Director Tama Goodman.
The administration at F & M and its president, John Fry, have taken a renewed interest in building a thriving community for Jewish students on campus. Last year, the campus began offering a kosher meal plan and shortly after construction was slated to begin on the Klehr Center, Dr. Ralph Taber relinquished his responsibilities as F & M dean of students to become its first director. In his new capacity as associate dean of the college and director of the Klehr Center for Jewish Life, Taber develops Hillel programming, assists in recruiting Jewish students to the college, and is responsible for a Jewish alumni network.
In a recent interview with Insider Higher Ed, Taber explained that F & M is becoming a more attractive option for Jewish college students, "Students will look at us who might not have looked at us before. If you had a requirement that you wanted kosher food, you wouldn’t have looked at F&M before.”
Last week's dedication of the Klehr Center included a Torah Walk and rededication of the Torah to the Center’s Beit Midrash. F & M President Fry and Kent Trachte, Dean of the College, were in attendance along with alumni Morris Garten, president of the F&M Jewish Alumni Council and Rabbi Bruce Bromberg Seltzer, a former F &M Hillel president currently serving as the Hillel adviser and chaplain at Smith and Amherst Colleges.
The chuppah (canopy) used in the ceremony was designed by F & M Hillel's program director, Tama Goodman. The campus plans to use it at all future simchas (Jewish celebrations).