Jewish students have helped Davidson embody more of what it has wanted to be on paper. And Jewish students have done this by simply asking for what is right and appropriate and just and inclusive for themselves, but not only for themselves. I think that because they have spoken up, it has led to a recognition, broadly, that these are things we need for all students and all students of all different religious and spiritual traditions. Probably it even goes beyond that, just to all students. But with regard to religion and spirituality, I would say that because the number of Jewish students…that’s been the largest of the underrepresented religious populations on campus, they’ve had the most forceful voice because of sheer numbers, in part. And I think that’s been really healthy for the college to do what it wants to do and sort of be prodded in specific ways to do that.
Rob Spach graduated from Davidson in 1984 and returned as College Chaplain in 1993. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Summary: College Chaplain Rob Spach speaks about his time as a student at Davidson. He talks about the Religious Studies Department in the early 80’s and the religious organizations on campus at the time including student-led groups and the college chaplain’s office. He goes on to describe coming back to Davidson as the College Chaplain and his involvement in the college’s move toward interfaith stances. He recounts the development of Jewish life on campus from small loosely-organized gatherings to formal college events, describing the formation of the Jewish Student Union, the establishment of Hillel, and the hiring of a campus rabbi.
Summary: College Chaplain Rob Spach speaks about important events that shaped Jewish life at Davidson. He discusses the history of Davidson College Hillel and how the student-run organization made Jewish life on campus more visible between the years of 2011 and 2018. He describes how the college started accommodating non-Christian religious groups, his reaction to the discovery of neo-Nazi students on campus, and how other religiously motivated incidents affected Davidson’s culture and Jewish population.