What’s Nu? February 2024 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

What’s Nu? February 2024 

Chancellor from controversy is fired 

A Wisconsin university chancellor who resisted scheduling classes to accommodate religion, after a Rosh Hashanah scheduling controversy, has been fired for appearing in pornographic videos. 

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow declined to consider religion in class scheduling after the head of the state Board of Regents asked him for a plan to do so in 2021. Other chancellors in the University of Wisconsin system responded to the same request with a commitment to review their academic calendars. The requests and responses were prompted by what officials said was an unfortunate error, the scheduling of the first day of classes at several University of Wisconsin system campuses during Rosh Hashanah in 2021. 

Chancellors from Madison, Oshkosh, Parkside, Stout and Superior all said in letters to the Board of Regents they were reviewing or had reviewed their future academic calendars with an eye to preventing conflicts.   

The letter from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse did not indicate it was doing so, even though Tommy Thompson, then the UW System Board of Regents president, had asked for “longer-term mitigating steps that will avoid future conflicts ….” Gow responded on June 7, 2021: “As a public university, we do not make institutional policy based on any religion, regardless of the religion. However, the culture at UWL is such that we value the importance of religious observances for every individual of all faiths.” 

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted to fire Gow on Dec. 27 after videos surfaced featuring him and his wife on pornographic websites. Officials released a statement that the university had suffered “significant reputational harm.” Gow told the Associated Press he considers this a First Amendment issue.                                                              

Honors to Bookstaff, Shapiro Haskett, Steinberger  

Hillel International honored Hillel professionals during the 2023 Hillel International Global Assembly. Among those recognized this year were three professionals from Madison Hillel: David Bookstaff, Rabbi Andrea Steinberger and Maggie Shapiro Haskett. 

Bookstaff is director of operations, Steinberger is the Hillel’s rabbi and Shapiro Haskett is assistant director.  

Hillel International named Bookstaff a Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence, an award which honors professionals in various stages of their careers who live out the Hillel legacy of former president and CEO Richard Joel by embracing Hillel’s mission and connecting with students, colleagues, and stakeholders with enthusiasm and dedication. Bookstaff was also recognized for five years of service to Hillel. 

Hillel International also recognized Steinberger for 25 years of service and Shapiro Haskett for five years of service to the organization. During a time when students need consistency, Hillel strives to build a leadership team for the long term, one that can work with students consistently over the course of their college careers, according to a news release.  

“Jewish students have faced unprecedented challenges on college campuses this fall, and the UW Hillel Foundation (Madison Hillel) has gone above and beyond to protect, educate, inspire, advocate for and support their Jewish student communities in this fraught period,” said Hillel International President and CEO Adam Lehman. 

Heyden joins Jewish Family Services 

Jenny S. Heyden is the new vice president of development and communications for Jewish Family Services. She started Dec. 27. 

Heyden comes to JFS with 15 years of experience in nonprofit development, communications and marketing. She most recently worked for an arts education organization in Chicago and has experience in healthcare foundation fundraising, municipal government fundraising, and communications and public relations, according to a news release. She has also provided fundraising consultation to various local and statewide nonprofits. 

Heyden’s professional history includes development strategy and leadership, grant management, marketing and communications, event planning and digital fundraising strategies. She has experience in corporate sponsorships, foundation fundraising, major and planned gifts, and public institution funding. 

Heyden, holds a master of science in nonprofit management and leadership from the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a certification in Major Gifts from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. 

“It gives me great pleasure to join such a trusted organization, and to contribute to the well-being and resources of the Milwaukee community,” Heyden said. 

Gun range reports increased interest 

Bear Arms Boutique Shooting Range, the only public gun range in Ozaukee County or the Northshore, is reporting post-Oct. 7 increased interest in its classes from Jewish-community clientele. 

“Our classes have been sold out,” said Cheryle Rebholz, founder and co-owner. “We’ve even –because of demand – held classes after hours, have made accommodations, so that they can get their concealed carry, become trained and proficient and feel safe.” 

According to Rebholz, at least some of her recent increase in demand is coming from the Jewish community.  

“Everything started with Oct. 7,” she said, because of the attacks that day and the international burst of antisemitism that followed. 

“Everything has changed,” she said. 

Rebholz’s range includes a spa environment, with amenities that she said makes the space more attractive to women. She added that the shooting range is a controlled, “very safe” environment. Bear Arms Boutique Shooting Range is in Mequon.