Cassi Kail
Rabbi Cassi Kail, director of Jewish life and university chaplain

Chapman University Appoints Rabbi Cassi Kail as Director of Jewish Life and University Chaplain Rabbi Kail plans to facilitate meaningful interactions between Jewish students and those of other faiths on campus.

Chapman University appointed Cassi Kail as director of Jewish Life and university chaplain. Rabbi Kail aims to provide various opportunities to learn, socialize and take pride in Jewish identities and advocates for religious accommodations, special meals and other support.

“As a campus chaplain, I am available as a pastoral and spiritual guide for anyone in the college family,” said Rabbi Kail. “I coordinate with clergy and staff in the Fish Interfaith Center to offer memorials, vigils, grief support and spiritual care.”

Rabbi Kail’s extensive interfaith experience and engagement include her involvement with the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network, where she served as rabbi of Temple Beth El in San Pedro, Calif., and held positions in various New York synagogues. Her responsibilities in these roles included teaching, leading innovative Shabbat and holiday services and speaking at community events, churches and schools.

“After thirteen years as a congregational rabbi, I felt called to serve on a college campus because I love working with college students and young adults, and I love the always changing, highly innovative college climate,” said Rabbi Kail. “I know that rabbis are especially needed on college campuses right now and wanted to do my part to both strengthen the Jewish community and nurture interfaith relationships on campus.”

One of the reasons Rabbi Kail was drawn to Chapman was the Fish Interfaith Center. Multi-faith work has always been a core component of her rabbinate.

“Last spring, I took part in a Multi-Faith Neighbors Network event in Qatar, alongside other rabbis, pastors and imams,” said Rabbi Kail. “Although our theology and political views are at times irreconcilable, we have come to cherish one another as friends. I came to Chapman because the Fish Interfaith Center is both unique and an incredible asset.”

Reflecting on the importance of interfaith dialogue, Rabbi Kail plans to facilitate meaningful interactions between Jewish students and those of other faiths.

“In our increasingly polarized world, it is all too easy to surround ourselves with like-minded people, depriving ourselves of the opportunity to grow and learn,” said Rabbi Kail. “When we speak with people of different faiths and backgrounds, we are sometimes surprised by just how much we have in common. We begin to understand one another’s cultures, beliefs, motivations, fears and dreams. We become sensitive to one another’s sensitivities.”

Rabbi Kail’s educational background includes rabbinical ordination and a master of arts in Hebrew literature from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, as well as a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of Hartford. She has also completed clinical pastoral education chaplaincy training, bettering her ability to provide holistic support to individuals in need.

“I am a relational rabbi,” added Rabbi Kail. “That means that I take time to get to know community members before implementing new projects or ideas. I love learning about people’s passions, dreams and ideas for the future so that we can work collaboratively best serving the Chapman community.”

“These final weeks of the semester give me the opportunity to get to know the unique culture at Chapman,” said Rabbi Kail. “I’m eager to plan for the fall semester with a greater knowledge and connection with members of the Jewish community, and the Chapman community at large.”

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Paul Pe

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