Who We Are:
Between the overload of school work and the never ending hustle of the city, Chabad is a home away from home for students at Columbia University; a cozy place to unwind in an oasis of Jewish tradition, friends and homemade food.
Inspired by the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and founded on the basis of Chassidut philosophy, Chabad’s goal is to create a Jewish community in which inidividuals feels comfortable to explore and deepen their Jewish identity. Whether it be at a Shabbat meal, Torah study session or social gathering, no matter the background or familiarity to Judaism, every student is welcomed and loved.
Meet the Team
Rabbi Yuda Drizin grew up in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. He studied in yeshiva abroad in Paris, Israel and Argentina before returning to New York to receive his rabbinical ordination from the central Chabad Yeshiva. Rabbi Yuda has experience in Jewish communal leadership having practiced as a summer Rabbi in Windhoek, Namibia and leading services for the high holidays in Kobe, Japan. His genuine interest in others, along with his sincerity and wisdom, make it natural for him to connect with people of all ages, stages and backgrounds. He has a passion for sharing Jewish knowledge and inspiration and loves to schmooze over coffee.
Naomi Drizin was raised in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn where she grew up helping her parents with their work in Chabad of the local Jewish community. From a young age, Naomi taught friends the Aleph Bet, invited neighbors to join the Passover Seders and enjoyed preparing for Chanukah and Purim festivals. After completing her schooling, she taught for three years at Beth Rivkah girls high school. She recently graduated with a Master of Social Work from Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She ensures that everyone who walks through the door feels comfortable and welcome with her enthusiasm and warm smile.
The Drizin family moved to Morningside Heights in 2019. They look forward to devoting their lives to working with the Jewish students and faculty members of Columbia undergrad and graduate programs.
Executive Student Board 2021 -2022
My name is Leah Hale. I am a Junior studying Financial Engineering. Chabad has been a space for me to meet like minded people, learn about Judaism, and most importantly to have fun. As President, I hope to attract students from many different backgrounds and to create enjoyable and meaningful events for everyone.
My name is Zachary Becker and I am a senior in Columbia College majoring in political science. As I look back on the past few years, I cannot imagine my college experience without Chabad. Since I arrived on campus, Rabbi Yuda and Naomi have supplied a welcoming community for Jewish students of all backgrounds. But, Chabad is much more than another resource for Jewish experiences. Chabad at Columbia has provided personal growth, close friendships, and respite from the bustle of academic demands. I am excited to be on the student board this year and am looking forward to securing funding so Chabad can continue to be an engaging and lively home for Jewish life.
I am Samantha Breslauer, a junior in Columbia College majoring in Neuroscience and on the pre-med track. I am from London, yet I now consider New York my second home. To me, Chabad at Columbia serves as a safe haven - a place I can always go to if in need of friends, Jewish inspiration, or just yummy challah and chicken soup. As charity co-ordinator, I am hoping to create volunteering opportunities for the Columbia Jewish community to get involved from helping fellow residents in Morningside Heights to cooking for those in need among many more. I am really excited to be back on campus and looking forward to meeting everyone at the Chabad house!
Director of Operations
Hi! My name is Benjamin Pagovitch and I'm from Great Neck, NY. I am a current junior in the GS/JTS joint degree program studying economics and Talmud. Chabad has offered me an awesome space to explore my Judaism. From shabbat meals to casual shmoozes, the atmosphere of students from all walks of life offers a unique opportunity for sharing experiences and growing. As the Gabbi/director of operations I want to ensure every student has the best resources available to grow academically, religiously, and socially. From having open hours at the chabad house to study/ chill, to shabbat and services, I will guarantee that you will have a blast.
Hi! My name is Alyssa Pustilnik and I’m a sophomore at Columbia and JTS studying computer science and Modern Jewish studies. I love Chabad and have been a member of CTeen from beginning of high school. I am the social chair and my main goal is to grow the Chabad community by planning all kinds of events. I can’t wait to meet everyone soon!
Assistant Student Board 2021 -2022
Health and Wellness
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Emeritus
Rabbi Yonah and Rebbetzin Keren Blum were directors of Chabad at Columbia University for 23 years. Together with their children, Shoshana, Esther, Chana, Zaly and Gavi, they led Chabad at Columbia with dedication and love. Through the years, they inspired and connected with thousands of students and faculty members who passed through their doors. Chabad at Columbia Univeristy will continue the vision of the Blums, to be an open and welcoming home for all.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chabad
What is Chabad?
Chabad is a worldwide movement that spreads Jewish awareness to all Jews. The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of chochmah—wisdom, binah—comprehension and da’at—knowledge. The movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy (Chassidut), the deepest dimension of G‑d’s Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of creation, and the importance and unique mission of each creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his or her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
What does Chabad do on campus?
Chabad helps provide Jewish students with their social, cultural and spiritual needs. Rabbi Yuda and Naomi Drizin have extensive knowledge in many areas of Judaism and are ready to listen to your concerns and answer your questions. Most importantly, consider Chabad your home away from home.
Do only Orthodox Jews come to Chabad?
Chabad is a place for all Jews regardless of their affiliations. What makes Chabad unique is that all walks of Jewish life come together as one.
What happens if I don’t know what to do?
Don’t worry, there will always be someone to guide you. The important thing is to not be afraid to ask!
All this is great, but how do I join?
But wait! How much does it cost?
Nothing! Just bring yourself and lots of friends!