By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Matisyahu and Nechama Devlin will be moving to Riverside, California, where they will establish a Chabad Student Center at University of California Riverside.
One of 11 siblings, Matisyahu grew up in York, Pennsylvania, where he attended Catholic school and church for the first 18 years of his life. After discovering he was Jewish, Matisyahu spent a few months attending yeshiva.
However, this experience followed by a life-threatening situation, were still not enough to truly solidify his decision in pursuing a traditional Jewish lifestyle.
It was only after spending a couple of months attending a campus Chabad house that Matisyahu realized how central Judaism was to his life, and chose to immerse himself in the chassidic way of life.
He then completed his senior year of high school, graduating at the top of his class, and went on to learn for five years in yeshiva. During this time, Matisyahu was featured in National Geographic’s “Only for G-d, Inside Hasidism.”
Rabbi Devlin featured in a documentary about Judaism
Nechama was born in Argentina where she was enrolled in a Jewish school and grew up with a strong Jewish identity. After moving to Florida at age 11, she switched to public school. Nechama then got involved with Chabad and other Jewish outreach programs while in college, which led to her becoming observant. While attending a seminary in Israel, Nechama decided that this was the life she wanted to live.
As for her profession, Nechama was always driven by her desire to help others. As a result, she became interested in Special Education and taught in a school for children with autism. After receiving a Master’s of Science in Special Education, Nechama started to do home-based therapy with children of various disabilities.
The Devlins will establish a Chabad Center which will serve as a “home away from home” for hundreds of Jewish Students at University of California Riverside (UCR) and the surrounding colleges and universities.
“At Chabad on Campus, we will anticipate and serve the needs of students on a social, educational and spiritual level,” said Rabbi Devlin. “At Chabad, all students are welcome, regardless of background, affiliation, and level of observance.
“We will open our home to students, helping inspire them with a respect for family values and a deep meaningful concern for the land of Israel. We believe that Jewish education and meaningful experiences are the grass-roots method to achieving unity, regardless of one’s background or affiliations. For there to be a Jewish tomorrow, our students need to have a Jewish today!”