The George & Pamela Rohr House

Serving Jewish students at the University of Oxford 

75a Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1HR

Student Lounge 008.jpg

The George and Pamela Rohr House was founded with the help of the Rohr family foundation as an extension to the Oxford Chabad House serving the Jewish students as a centre and home away from home.

The building is situated at 75A Cowley Road, adjacent to the Oxford Chabad House, and contains a lounge and dining hall for Shabbat and festival dinners, as well as a place where students can relax and meet other Jewish students in a homely and warm atmosphere.

Chabad of Oxford is extremely grateful to the Rohr family Foundation for this enormous contribution to Jewish life in Oxford that has been and continues to be at the heart of the growth and development of Chabad at the University of Oxford since 2001. 

For details about our extensive lecture programme and weekly Shabbat dinners email [email protected].

Looking forward to seeing you soon!




Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) Article

The Oxford University Chabad Society opened this 900-year-old British university’s first official Jewish student center on Jan. 26.

The $500,000 Rohr Jewish Student Center, sponsored by New York philanthropist George Rohr, houses a synagogue, cafe, entertainment room with Internet access and dining hall. It was designed by a student committee, which also chose the books in its library.

Until now, Jewish students were served only by the Oxford Jewish Center, a 30-year-old community-run institution that holds Orthodox, Reform and Conservative services. To read article on JTA website click here.

Jewish Chronicle - The JC

New Jewish facility for Oxford

27/01/2006 By Nathan Jeffay

Oxford’s first centre dedicated to the needs of Jewish students will open its doors tonight. 

The Rohr Jewish Student Centre has cost £300,000, much of which was donated by American philanthropist George Rohr. It houses a synagogue, café, games facilities and a dining room.  Students will be welcome to relax in the lounge and make use of the high speed wireless internet and huge, pub-style TV screen from early morning to late evening. The centre will take on many of the roles that Hillel houses fulfil in other university cities. Hillel has never established a house in Oxford, as its centres are usually residential and Oxford students normally live in college. Until now, the closest thing to a Jewish student centre was the Oxford Jewish Centre, owned by the resident community, where some J-Soc events take place, and where a student lounge opened last year. 

The Rohr Centre belongs to the Oxford University Chabad Society, whose director, Rabbi Eli Brackman, told Campus: “This is the first time in the history of this 900-year-old university that there will exist a Jewish student centre for people to enjoy at their leisure from 8am until past midnight.”  He added that it will complement the existing Jewish infrastructure — a sentiment echoed by the National Jewish Chaplaincy Board’s educator, Rabbi Yoni Sherizen. According to Rabbi Brackman, “the centre will transform Jewish life in Oxford long-term.” It is located on Cowley Road, regarded as Oxford’s most trendy street, famous for its open-all-hours restaurants, bars and cafes. “Location is important so that people can just drop in,” said Rabbi Brackman. 

“It is in the heart of this area of Oxford, close to colleges, college-owned accommodation and the city centre. “The establishment of this centre follows recent emphasis of Chabad on campus work.” 

The inaugural speaker tonight will be Dan Alon, a survivor of the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972, which is the subject of the new Steven Spielberg film “Munich.” Mr Alon was a member of the fencing team at the Olympics. During the event, Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israelis, including his coach Andre Spitzer. The centre will not be officially inaugurated until March, when America’s best known civil liberties lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, visits. 

Rabbi Brackman said that the centre’s strength lies in the fact that it is completely tailored to the needs of students. He said that it has been designed by a student committee and reflects student interests and styles. The books in the Samson library have been chosen by a student committee, and cover religion, arts, and other subjects. Looking to the long-term, Rabbi Brackman added: “I hope that projects like this will serve as a pointer to the Anglo-Jewish community to increase support of Jewish life at university campuses and view it as a priority. “Visible support for students both helps to guarantee the future identity of the Anglo-Jewish community and give students confidence and a sense that they are getting much-needed communal backing.”

To read the article on the JC's website click here

Lubavitch World Headquarters Website

A New Chabad Centre for Oxford Students  - OXFORD, ENGLAND — Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Amit Pundik began lugging a satchel of books and paper around Oxford University four months ago when he arrived to study law. Excelling in an environment populated by a select group of scholastically driven students and some of the world’s finest minds as faculty, where final exam crunch time arrives every few weeks requires discipline. But when Pundik wants to set his heavy load down and unwind he heads for the brand new, half-million dollar Rohr Jewish Student Centre. 

Funded by a grant from the Rohr Family Foundation, the Centre is a Jewish oasis in Oxford where many of the 39 colleges have names like Christ Church College, Corpus Christi College and Jesus College. “To have a Jewish place, to feel there is a place in Oxford where being Jewish is not an anomaly is very important for students psychologically,” said Rabbi Brackman. Located along Cowley Road in the heart of Oxford’s all-nighter restaurants, pubs and trendy shops, the Centre’s “location is important so people can just drop in.” The new Centre is also near Chabad of Oxford’s Jewish Student House, which offers kosher dorming facilities.

“To have a Jewish place, to feel there is a place in Oxford where being Jewish is not an anomaly is very important for students psychologically,”

Student input tweaked the design of the Jewish Student Centre, and the space bears telltale marks of their priorities. Some are pan-collegiate like the wireless Internet network, comfy but modernist couches, and the 42-inch “pub style” flat-screen TV. Browsing the library in the Centre bespeaks volumes of the student mindset. Tomes on Zionist history, Jewish literature, Holocaust history line the shelves of the Jules and Ariella Samson Library because they were on the must-read list of the student led planning committee. So are heavy-duty learning tools like complete sets of translated Talmud and Mishna. 

Given the workload shouldered by the students, Chabad of Oxford representative Rabbi Eli Brackman expects the Centre to find its greatest utilization when formal programs and events are offered, which is why Alan Dershowitz will be popping in for an inaugural lecture at the Centre on March 7. His appearance will be the splashy open for the Centre and introduce it to the wider Oxford public. But calling in stateside speakers is not something Chabad of Oxford resorts to often; there’s no need with world-class thinkers like mathematical physicist Roger Penrose close enough to bicycle over for a lecture. 

Catering to Oxford’s ‘invitation only’ culture while having an open door policy requires a careful balance. On the one hand, Chabad of Oxford and Shabbat dinners are open to everyone on campus as are Oxford Chabad Society lectures that are routinely filled to capacity. But events such as the Dershowitz lecture are by invitation only. 

The Centre is already seeing much use. Munich terror survivor, former Olympian Dan Alon presented the first lecture at the Centre detailing his harrowing dramatic survival, the part of the story skipped in Spielberg’s Munich flick. With the new space, Rabbi Eli and Friedy Brackman can accommodate 70 students for Friday night dinner. Before the Centre opened, Chabad of Oxford events were held in the Brackmans’ front room where at most 50 students could squeeze in. A separate space exclusively for student use “makes a huge difference. When students come into the Centre, they are not coming into a house. It belongs to them. They don’t feel like they are intruding,” Rabbi Brackman said. 

Yet part of Chabad of Oxford’s success is precisely because students felt warmly welcomed in the Brackman’s home. Because the Centre is located next door to the Brackman residence, the opportunities to be a home away from home at Chabad are still an option. This means the Brackman’s children can remain university celebs and harried students can still sneak bites of Freidy’s home-baked challah.

Reported by Rivka Chaya Berman

To read the article on the website click here