Rabbi Daniel Greer: Pioneer

In the early 1950s, when Rabbi Daniel Greer entered Princeton as an undergraduate student, he confronted a very alien environment. For the first two years at Princeton, Daniel Greer was the only undergraduate keeping strictly kosher. As a result, he found himself eating meals, alone, in his room each day, every day. There was, at that time, absolutely no provision for any kosher food on campus. Rabbi Daniel Greer brought a week’s supply of food to Princeton from his home in New York, where he traveled for Shabbos.

Once in a while, Daniel Greer joined several graduate students, who observed kashrus, and ate with them at the home of Helen Feddy, an older woman who lived on Witherspoon Street. Mrs. Feddy was the only person in all of Princeton Township, at that time, who kept a kosher home. As a great courtesy and kindness, she would periodically host the three or four kosher-eating graduate students (who, generally, as well, also ate alone in their rooms).

In his third year of undergraduate work, Rabbi Daniel Greer availed himself of Princeton’s “junior year abroad” program and went to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Returning as a senior the following year, Rabbi Daniel Greer decided to take more concrete action regarding the kosher food situation at Princeton. Daniel Greer found not only a sophomore, Abe Kaufman, who enrolled while Greer was in Israel, but also three incoming freshmen who also would be expected to eat kosher. As a senior, Daniel Greer had his own suite of rooms at South Edwards Hall, and invited these four students to eat with him each day.

Also read: http://rabbidanielgreer.strikingly.com/blog/rabbi-daniel-greer-improving-the-local-community

During the following year, after his graduation, while pursuing a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in New York, Greer worked closely with Rabbi Pinchos Teitz, the Rav of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to formalize the kosher dining at Princeton. Abe Kaufman, by then a senior at Princeton, took charge. An off-campus premises was rented, supplies ordered and a cook hired for this nascent project. The kosher eating arrangement was registered as the Yavneh House at Princeton, working under the umbrella of the Yavneh Student Organization.

Today, kosher dining at Princeton hosts well over one hundred undergraduate diners, and is an official university run facility. IN 2011, at the fiftieth anniversary of the Yavneh House at Princeton, Rabbi Daniel Greer was one of the featured speakers as was Dr. Rivkah Teitz-Blau, the daughter of Rav Pinchos Teitz.

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About rabbidanielgreer

In 1970, Rabbi Daniel Greer volunteered his legal expertise to help two American Jews find their way back home from the Soviet Union. Leonid and Esther Rigerman – the two individuals – had been confirmed as citizens of the United States but had not gained permission from Soviet authorities to leave Russia for their home country. Rabbi Greer was instrumental in helping them get safe passage.
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