Some 400,000 Israelis who consider themselves Jewish are not recognized as such by the country’s chief rabbinate, and are thus unable to marry other Jews legally. Of these, many—often immigrants from the former Soviet Union—are of partial Jewish descent and thus halakhically non-Jews, even if they came to Israel under the state’s law of return. Others are Ethiopian Jews whose status is uncertain, or converts whose conversions are not recognized by the chief rabbinate. Shlomo Brody suggests a halakhic solution:
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At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.