We are the University Chaplaincy - we are here for you.
Reporting to the University President, the University Chaplain leads the chaplaincy team, which currently includes an Africana Spirituality advisor, Buddhist chaplain, Catholic chaplain, Hindu advisor, Humanist chaplain, Jewish chaplain, Muslim chaplain, and Protestant chaplain. They serve the whole Tufts community – including those without a religious or philosophical affiliation – as well as their particular chaplaincies. The team also includes program and administrative staff, a music director, and student workers. Together, the office supports student communities, interfaith organizations, and university-wide programming.
The Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger became the University Chaplain in October 2020. She leads the University Chaplaincy team in supporting all religious, spiritual, and philosophical life at Tufts; educates about spiritual and ethical issues in society and the world; and coordinates pastoral care, multifaith initiatives, and strategic partnerships around the university and beyond.
Najiba Akbar was appointed Muslim Chaplain in Fall 2021. As Muslim Chaplain, Najiba advises and supports students active in the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and across Tufts’ campuses; offers programs that celebrate and explore the cultural and spiritual diversity of the Muslim community; provides pastoral care; and works alongside the University Chaplaincy team and campus partners on various interfaith, intercultural, social justice, and anti-racism initiatives.
Dr. Preeta Banerjee joined the team in August 2020. She is the first person to hold this position. She supports Hindu Life at Tufts, and works to advance the joys, concerns, and needs of the Hindu community.
The Reverend Daniel Bell was appointed Protestant Chaplain at Tufts University in August of 2016. As a member of the University Chaplaincy team, Dan is dedicated to enriching the spiritual and ethical lives of all those affiliated with Tufts, with a focus on the Protestant community. He works closely with the Tufts Protestant Students Association to develop the ecumenical Protestant community on campus. Dan works with students to coordinate worship services, spiritual formation activities, service and social justice projects, and ecumenical and interfaith initiatives. He also provides pastoral care to students, faculty, and staff.
Rabbi Naftali Brawer was appointed Tufts’ Jewish Chaplain and Neubauer Executive Director of Tufts Hillel in May 2018. Before coming to Tufts, Naftali was Chief Executive of the Spiritual Capital Foundation, a London-based think tank and consultancy on the centrality of values in organizations. Prior to that role, he was Senior Rabbi to the Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue in Northwest London, one of the largest Jewish congregations in Europe, with close to 1300 members.
Lynn Cooper A02 was appointed Catholic Chaplain in 2008. Since then Lynn has served the spiritual and sacramental needs of our diverse campus community. Lynn seeks to serve those who are united in Catholic life and worship, those who are attracted to the Catholic faith, and the larger Tufts community. Pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, retreats, study groups, and prayer groups extend this ministry to the many dimensions of the lives of students and others in the university community. Lynn also serves as the University Chaplaincy's Associate Director, assisting the University Chaplain with strategy and planning, and leading educational programming.
Anthony Cruz Pantojas was appointed Humanist Chaplain in Summer 2021. As Humanist Chaplain, Anthony supports the Humanist Community at Tufts (HCAT), offers pastoral care, and works alongside the University Chaplaincy team and campus partners on various interfaith, intercultural, social justice, and anti-racism initiatives.
Ji Hyang Padma was appointed Buddhist Chaplain in July, 2021. In this role, Ji Hyang supports student leaders of the Tufts Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha, develops and facilitates opportunities for all community members interested in practicing and exploring diverse Buddhist traditions and practices on campus, offers pastoral care, and works alongside the University Chaplaincy team and campus partners on various interfaith, intercultural, social justice, and anti-racism initiatives.
Nora Bond joined the University Chaplaincy team in December 2019 as Program Manager. She coordinates programs and outreach efforts to integrate University Chaplaincy with all areas of the university and with external partners. Nora develops and manages departmental outreach and communication strategies for the University Chaplaincy to establish lively engagement with undergraduates, graduate students, staff, faculty, and local organizations. She is charged with overseeing the signature events of the University Chaplaincy, and she supervises the incredible student staff team who work with the office.
Lindsey joined the University Chaplaincy Team in July 2021 as Administrative Coordinator. She provides specialized support to the University Chaplain and to the Chaplaincy to assist in running programs and helping to fulfill the Chaplaincy's mission and goals.
Goddard Chapel, 3 The Green, Medford, MA 02155
Graduate Student Interns
Harvard Divinity School Intern
Francesca Rubinson, A20 is a second-year student at Harvard Divinity School, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree with a focus in Jewish Studies. Francesca is a proud Jumbo and feels honored to return to campus as the University Chaplaincy Intern. In the academic world, she brings feminist and queer lenses to the study of Jewish history and identity. As a chaplain, she is passionate about providing spiritual care to all, fostering interfaith connections, and building inclusive communities and ritual spaces. After graduating from Tufts, Francesca served as member of the Avodah Jewish Service Corps, working with DACA recipients and providing legal services to the immigrant community in Washington, D.C. Francesca has also worked as an interfaith chaplain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Francesca is trained as a mikveh guide and volunteers at Mayyim Hayyim, the community mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) in Newton, MA. In her spare time, Francesca loves to ride her bike, play pick-up basketball, engage in creative writing, watch sketch comedy, and host potlucks for her friends.