Rabbi Dr Reuven & Rochel Leigh
Chabad of Cambridge was founded in 2003 with the intention of providing Jewish education and access to Jewish life to all sections of the Cambridge community. Our programme includes The Cambridge University Chabad Jewish Society, The Cambridge Hebrew School, Ganeinu Childcare Service and The Cambridge Mikvah.
Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres, and its members have won more Nobel Prizes than those of any other institution. There are over 1000 Jewish students and academics in Cambridge, many of whom will become leaders in their respective fields and make a difference in the world. It is our ambition that they will also be committed members of the Jewish community.
Our experience has taught us that an approach that believes in the intellectual rigour of Judaism and its relevance to contemporary life is the surest way of providing the leaders of tomorrow with a strong attachment to the Jewish community. Our approach is not one of protectionism, that seeks to shield Jewish students from the potential dangers of university life, but rather a confident integrationist approach that seeks to harmonise the Cambridge experience.
Over eighteen years, Rabbi Reuven and Rochel Leigh have developed a unique setting where Judaism and Cambridge converge. An environment of intellectual openness that has encouraged Jews from across the university to re-engage with a community, that they recognise to be compatible with, and relevant to, their academic pursuits. This open and non-dogmatic approach has led to Reuven’s appointment as a chaplain at the University and as rabbi to the local community. Both Reuven and Rochel have pursued academic studies at Cambridge that has enabled them to understand more fully the dynamics of student life, and make them more accessible and approachable for many students.
Reuven studied at religious academies in Manchester and Montreal and upon graduating in 1999, he assumed a rabbinic internship in New Haven, Connecticut. He subsequently received his Rabbinic Ordination from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in 2001 and was appointed as a lecturer in Hassidic philosophy. His main research interest is the relationship between Theology, Philosophy & Modernity and he was awarded his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2020. Rochel pursued her higher education at the Rabbinical College of Canada in Montreal, where she graduated with honours. She subsequently taught Jewish Studies in Florida, California, Texas and New York. Her interests include early years education and psychology and she was awarded her MEd from the University of Cambridge in 2018. They have five children; Chana, Levi, Tzemach, Shaina and Rosie.