Peretz Chein

Being Seen for Those Dedicated to Seeing Others

Perhaps the greatest gift we can give someone is to see them, acknowledge their presence, and not ignore or look through them. If you’ve ever wondered what’s the secret sauce of Chabad, especially on college campuses, it’s to genuinely radiate when a person walks into our space. To dignify them without knowing much about them, let alone when we know them well.

At the end of each day of creation, G-d described what He built as “good.” When G-d noticed that Adam was alone with no one to see him, he described it as “no good,” essentially calling it destructive to be unseen. Shluchos and Shluchim across college campuses, including us at Brandeis, dedicate our lives to a particular campus and remain there for life to greet each student who walks into our space, to help build them up when the scaffolds of family and home are removed. 

Now we are inviting everyone we saw to see us. 

In honor of our 22nd year at Brandeis, we are participating in the Chabad on Campus Grand Draw with a $36 participation. We’ve called, texted, and emailed the thousands of students, alumni, and parents for whom 54 Turner Street was a place that filled their inner self and their spirit of being, and asked them to share some of that with us too. 

To date, the response has been phenomenal. Over 400 individuals have purchased tickets! Each one has swelled our hearts with warmth and made us smile. Be it a first-year student, an alum who graduated twenty years ago, or a parent of an alum who appreciates that our efforts weren’t simply about giving their child a home away from home but about empowering a future generation of healthy Jewish adults who are active in their Jewish communities. 

As one alum from fifteen years ago whom we have not seen since he left Waltham wrote to us after we thanked him for participating, “It’s normal, after all you did for so many people and me.” Or, as another alum elaborated, “I just purchased a ticket. I have fond memories of sitting with some of the other midyears for Shabbat dinners at Brandeis Chabad, and I am trying to recreate that community as a young Jewish professional in the Boston area. In the fall, I hosted a Shabbat dinner with other Brandeis alumni at my home, but nothing will ever compare to Shabbat dinners with you and Peretz!”

With one day remaining to the raffle, we invite all who have received our phone calls, texts, or emails or have seen about it on social media to “see” us just as they were “seen” at the Chabad House at Brandeis. 

Dear Reader,
Please visit here to participate.
With love and gratitude,
Peretz and Chanie

About the Author
HaShliach Rabbi Peretz Chein is co-director of the Chabad House at Brandeis University, which he co-founded with his wife Chanie in 2001. In 2021 they co-founded M54, an educational startup that shifts the learning content from text to participants' life experiences, allowing them to discover new language and voice from which increased vibrancy emerges.