Center for Spiritual Life

Chaplains and Staff

As a Jewish-founded, nonsectarian institution, Brandeis does not have one university chaplain. Instead, religious life is supported by a team of religious leaders representing many faiths.

Brandeis chaplains offer counseling, support and community to all students. The chaplains oversee on-campus worship and student religious life while also offering community support in times of joy and crisis. The Center for Spiritual Life wants students of any, all, or no religious tradition to feel at home connecting.

Chaplains

Rabbi Seth Winberg
Rabbi Seth Winberg
Director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Senior Jewish Chaplain
Executive Director, Hillel
781-736-3580 Usdan Student Center

Rabbi Seth Winberg is director of the Center of Spiritual Life and the university's senior Jewish chaplain. He also serves as executive director of Hillel.

Originally from Canada and a graduate of York University in Toronto, he received rabbinic ordination in New York and Israel after many years of study. Seth completed extensive chaplaincy and pastoral training and has been involved in interfaith dialog. He served on the executive committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and on the rabbinic task force of Jewish Women International. His writing has appeared in JTA, The Boston Globe, The Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and Hakirah.

Meet with Rabbi Winberg

 

lara ericson
Lara Ericson
Associate Director
781-736-3672 Usdan G049

A graduate of Georgetown University and Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, Lara Ericson originally hails from Fairport, New York, and has also called Washington, D.C., home. She is passionate about community, conversations that ask the big questions and the belief that we can find the presence of the divine in our daily lives. In her free time, Lara can be found rowing on the Charles River, reading a novel or sampling the Boston area’s many desserts.

Meet with Lara

anjum biswas
Anjum Biswas
Hindu & Dharmic Chaplain

After receiving her Master's in computer science from the University of California, Irvine, and working for a few years as a computer scientist, Anjum Biswas took a break to fully devote her time in studying Vedic scriptures. Thereafter, she earned a Bhakti Shastri degree from the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education. 

Over the last 13 years she has been interacting with students at many universities who want to develop their spiritual dimensions, and supporting their spiritual journeys in a variety of ways. Apart from mentoring many spiritual aspirants, she takes special interest in bringing the messages of ancient scriptures alive through stories, drama, puppetry, art, music and through a strong practice in her own life.

Her spiritual work is also intrinsic to her life as a mother of two children, together with Partha. The entire family shares a common enthusiasm and passion for increasing their devotion to God and sharing their experience with others. Anjum also finds time to use her computer engineering skills with a variety of charity organizations and to offer classes as an experienced cook of karma-free diet.

partha biswas
Partha Biswas
Hindu & Dharmic Chaplain

Partha Biswas serves as a spiritual trainer in the lives of many spiritual aspirants coming from all walks of life. His deep faith in spiritual principles is a result of seeds that were sown when he was 10 years old. Since then, he has inculcated habits of regularly reading scriptures and practicing meditation. His practices and realizations matured with the opportunities to receive directions from various qualified teachers. As an offering of gratitude to his teachers, he founded meditation clubs at various universities (UCI – 2003, Tufts – 2006, Northeastern – 2009) to share his knowledge of how to live scriptural principles in contemporary settings.

Partha is a director of engineering at MathWorks, with a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, and a PhD from the University of California, Irvine. Despite having high-profile responsibilities under his belt, he strives to live a very simple and humble life of devotion toward God. He believes that when we take upon responsibilities of life as a service to God, we can tangibly experience God's presence even in so-called mundane affairs of life.

headshot of Karl LaClair
Karl LaClair
Chaplain & Coordinator of Christian Life
781-736-3573 Usdan G-051

Karl joins Brandeis after spending several years in youth and college ministry. He moved to the Boston area in 2008 to attend Boston College School of Theology and Ministry where he received his master's degree in theological studies. His studies focused heavily on Scripture and spirituality. He has brought those passions into his ministry, and while working as a campus minister at Emmanuel College, he created a vibrant retreat program and recently directed a new youth ministry program at Trinity Episcopal Church. In his spare time, Karl runs a weekly podcast about "Star Wars," spends time reading outside, working out, and can be found playing with his two cats!

Meet with Karl

Muslim Chaplain Harun Spevack
Dr. Harun Spevack
Muslim Chaplain
781-736-8742 Muslim Prayer Space in Usdan

Dr. Harun Spevack aims to help people discover and apply knowledge and skills that allow them to solve problems, produce with excellence, and experience nuance and depth. Whether in personal, academic or professional contexts, he is guided by Islam's primary principles of Peace, Security, and Beauty-Excellence (Islam, Iman, Ihsan). These fundamental principles inform his approach to personal spirituality, communal worship, and service-oriented social justice. Harun writes, teaches, and advises on topics in Islamic law, theology, and mysticism, as well as comparative religion. He also has a background in music which informs his approach to community building and personal development. He has studied Islam in the traditional master-disciple method with scholars from around the world and also has a PhD in Arabic and Islamic intellectual history.

Staff

diane lauber
Diane Lauber
Office Coordinator
781-736-3570 Usdan Student Center

Prior to Brandeis, Diane Lauber served as an office coordinator at language schools and environmental agencies. She holds a master’s degree in intercultural relations and taught English to immigrants at a community college for many years. She enjoys environmental education with young children, and being outside feeds her soul. She is an active member of Christian and Buddhist communities.

photo of top half of Emma Neuner's body on what appears to be a New York City street
Emma Neuner
Graduate Social Work Intern

Emma is the Graduate Social Work Intern for the Brandeis Center for Spiritual Life. She is currently in her second year at Simmons University getting her master’s degree in social work. Emma is looking forward to connecting with and supporting students on the Brandeis campus! Originally from the Detroit area, she moved to the Boston area to attend Brandeis. Since graduating from Brandeis, she has been doing community work across Boston. In her free time, Emma loves going to trivia nights, reading books, and dog sitting.