December 16, 2007


Small Lutheran school an unlikely magnet for Jewish students (KATHY BOCCELLA, 12/16/07, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Just before sundown on the first night of Hanukkah, Patti Mittleman rushes around the student union at Muhlenberg College, setting up menorahs, checking on the dreidels and gelt, and keeping hungry students away from dishes of doughnuts and steaming latkes.

"Jonathan, get rid of that plastic wrap behind the menorah. It looks like hell," she barks at a student, who removes the offending box of wrap.

With everything set, Mittleman welcomes several hundred people to the Jewish festival of light by saying "Hi, Daniel," into a microphone, joking that it's such a common name among the crowd that she knew it would get everyone's attention. "I could have used Joshua or Rachel, too," she cracks.

Such a scene surely never occurred to the founders of the small Lutheran college in Allentown, Pa., which is now one of the most popular schools in the country for Jewish students.

According to Hillel International, a Jewish campus organization, Muhlenberg has the 10th-largest percentage of Jews among U.S. colleges, with more than 700 Jewish students this academic year, nearly a third of its enrollment.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2007 12:05 AM
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