Yesterday, Thursday, June 9th a historic event took place at the University of California Los Angeles, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States.
The school made special accommodations for 79 graduating students and provided an early departmental graduation in deference to their observance of Shabbos and Shavuos. Thanks to this accommodation, these students (and families and guests) were able to participate in graduation ceremonies.
Amongst the 1,300 guests in attendance at the “Jewish Graduation” were many prominent individuals including the dean of UCLA.
Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Head Shliach to the West Coast who has been serving the UCLA/Westwood area since 1969, addressed the participants stating that “this is the first time I recall that graduating students have been so accommodated due to their religion. I commend UCLA for their show of understanding and I hope that in this spirit of tolerance, the school will start to deal with other issues, such as the intimidating atmosphere to Jewish and other students fostered by the hot-bed of anti-Israel activities at UCLA.”
Much of the efforts behind this unique event was spearheaded by students affiliated with Chabad at UCLA and Rabbi Dovid and Elisa Gurevich and Chabad of Brentwood. These rabbis and students worked tirelessly with the UCLA administration to accomplish this immense Kiddush Hashem.
Following the graduation ceremonies the male graduates, inspired by the speakers, put on Tefillin and the women committed to lighting Shabbat Candles.