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 students of all faiths. The chaplains oversee on-campus worship and student religious life while also offering community support in times of joy and crisis. For students of all levels of spirituality, the Chaplaincy can serve as a home away from home.
Reach out to a particular chaplain, or schedule here with the chaplain who fits best into your schedule:
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.
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.
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 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 an engineering manager at MathWorks, with a Bachelor's 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.
The Protestant community at Brandeis is guided by Protestant Chaplain Reverend Matt Carriker. Protestant activities and worship services at Brandeis are open to students of any Protestant denomination as well as students looking to observe a Protestant service. Carriker, often colloquially referred to as “Minister Matt” by students, leads Protestant services as well as serves as a religious advisor to Protestant student clubs. Carriker leads services twice a month (including “Dinner Church” once a month) at Brandeis’ Intercultural Center, Harlan Chapel, or 50 Church St. in Waltham through Agape Spiritual Community, an Open & Affirming United Church of Christ congregation in Waltham.
Rev. Leah Rumsey is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and currently serves as the Minister for Faith Formation at the Second Church in Newton. She is also a doctoral candidate in Harvard University's Committee on the Study of Religion. She received her BA in English, Religion, and International Studies from Kalamazoo College in Michigan and her MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and, before returning to Boston for the PhD, served as the Director of Religious Life and Chaplain at Franklin College in Indiana.
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.
Peggy-Anne Tio grew up in California, where she earned her Bachelor's in Psychology at San Diego State University and her Master's in Higher Education and Student Affairs at University of San Francisco. While at USF, Peggy worked as a Resident Minister fostering student engagement through Communities of Reflection (CORe) and assisting the Director of Liturgy and Music with student masses. Upon finishing her Master's, Peggy relocated to Washington, DC to take a variety of roles in the administration at Georgetown University. Most recently, Peggy served as the Associate Director of Diversity & Equity at Holy Trinity School, a PK-8 Catholic grade school based in Washington, DC. In her spare time, Peggy previously coached rowing at Sidwell Friends High School. Peggy is currently pursuing her MEd in School Counseling at UMass Boston to further her career working with students.
Prior to Brandeis, Diane Lauber served as an office coordinator at language schools and environmental agencies. She holds a Master’s 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.