Courtesy of Maytal Saltiel

Maytal Saltiel began her religious work at Yale in 2013, and since then, she has become a powerful force in bolstering religious life on campus.  When Sharon Kugler — the University’s first female chaplain — retired in June, Saltiel stepped in as interim leader. Now, after a six-month search, Saltiel is stepping into the post permanently. 

“I am honored to be named the 8th chaplain of Yale University,” Saltiel wrote to the News. “I have been here for times of sorrow and pain, and times of joy and celebration, through it Yale has been a place where people care deeply for one another and the world.” 

Saltiel began her career at Yale as the assistant chaplain for special programs in 2013 before becoming associate chaplain in 2017, and then interim head chaplain last year. 

In her time at Yale, Saltiel said, she has worked heavily with the Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Indigenous and Pagan communities. Under her interim leadership, the Chaplain’s Office has seen considerable growth in student engagement numbers.

Religious leaders on campus support Saltiel’s appointment because of her “compassion, care, advocacy, and concern for all,” Director of Muslim Life Imam Omer Bajwa told the News. Buddhist Chaplain Reverend Sumi Loundon Kim agreed, citing how supportive Saltiel has already been of the growing Buddhist community on campus.

Bajwa also shared that Saltiel’s commitment to hospitality and excellence will make her a fantastic leader, “especially in these heartbreaking times.” 

“I think Maytal will help Yale and the Chaplain’s Office respond to the rapidly changing character of young adult religious identity in America and around the world,” Senior Associate Chaplain for Protestant Life and Pastor of the University Church in Yale Reverend Ian Oliver wrote to the News.

Uri Cohen, the Executive Director of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life, called Saltiel an “outstanding campus leader and supporter of students of all faiths.” 

“I could not be happier that she has been appointed as Yale’s very first Jewish University Chaplain,” Cohen told the News. “This groundbreaking appointment – especially now – is an affirmation that Jewish identity can flourish in its own right and serve others at the same time. We are excited to work with Maytal and her whole team in the years to come to build a strong, vibrant, and supportive Yale community.”

Odessa Goldberg ’25, a student leader at the Slifka Center, echoed Cohen, voicing excitement at the Jewish representation in broader religious leadership on campus. 

Looking toward the future, Saltiel said that she is excited to continue innovating new ways for  students to connect with their religion and religious life on campus. 

Regardless of religiosity and a student’s connection with faith, Saltiel noted that all were welcome at the office for “free ice cream or a cup of tea.” 

“The Chaplain’s Office is a place where everyone is welcome exactly as they are,.” she said.

The Chaplain’s Office is located at 300 College St.

Ada Perlman contributed reporting.

Kaitlyn Pohly is a sophomore in Silliman College. She serves as the Student Life Reporter for the University Desk and previously reported on Student Policy and Affairs. Originally from New York City, Kaitlyn is a History major. Outside of the classroom and the newsroom, Kaitlyn dances with YaleDancers.