Keeping the Faith at Brown

November 6, 2007

Author: Debbie Lehmann and Scott Lowenstein

Source: Brown Daily Herald

When University Chaplain Janet Cooper Nelson learned that this year's Brown-Harvard football game - the first night game in Harvard Stadium's history - was scheduled to take place on the first night of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, she was disappointed. The "rude" scheduling, she said, sent a bad message to both Jewish students and the larger campus community about the importance of religion in university life.

Ten years ago, she said, it's unlikely that anything would have changed. But last fall, after Jewish alums and fans raised concerns about the scheduling, coaches from both schools agreed to move the game to the next day.

"Now, people say, 'That's right, let's fix that,' - even people who aren't religious," Cooper Nelson said. "In 1990, what I'm saying might have prompted more argument."

It is this spirit of heightened awareness and dialogue that defines the campus religious environment today.

See also: Interfaith, Campus