Rabbi Eliyahu Raskin: A shining star in Brooklyn’s legal education landscape
With the brick-and-mortar office buildings that house hundreds of inner-city undergraduate and graduate schools across the nation producing a remarkable number of leaders in business, academics, the arts and the professions, it’s the story of a young rabbi’s notable contributions that has recently stolen the spotlight in Downtown Brooklyn.
Rabbi Eliyahu Raskin, who serves at five educational institutions in the area, was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree by St. Francis College. The accolade stands as a testament to Raskin’s transformative work and considerable achievements within the legal academic community, where he has made a profound impact.
Raskin and his wife Shaindy embarked on their mission to serve students at Brooklyn Law School as part of Chabad of Brooklyn Heights only seven years ago, just a few days immediately following their wedding. Their service sphere has since expanded, encompassing hundreds of Jewish students, faculty, and staff at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Law School, NYU Tandon, City Tech, and Long Island University. The couple’s myriad programs, which range from weekly Torah-study classes to job placement and internship programs, bear testament to their profound commitment.
Despite his recent, formal association with St. Francis College that began merely a year ago, Raskin’s pivotal role in the institution was quickly acknowledged. Within months, he was appointed to the president’s advisory board and was honored with the honorary doctorate at the school’s graduation ceremony.
Raskin’s influence extends beyond the classroom, reaching deep into the lives of the students he serves. He recounts the story of a student who, after starting to put on tefillin daily with Raskin, underwent a significant lifestyle change that led to his non-Jewish fiancée ending their relationship.
Beyond his student outreach, Raskin has been a beacon for Jewish staff and faculty, particularly at St. Francis College, many of whom are the children of Holocaust survivors. His efforts include giving Torah classes, hosting a Passover seder for staff and students, and collaborating with college officials for a Holocaust remembrance event.
Looking forward, Raskin and his wife are initiating a capital campaign to build Brooklyn’s first fully kosher college dormitory. The project, seen as a response to the uptick in antisemitic incidents on campuses nationwide, intends to provide Jewish students of all backgrounds a sense of security, pride and solidarity. The facility, with plans for a location on Atlantic Avenue, aims to ease Shabbat and kosher observance while promoting a secure Jewish identity for the student residents.
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