Staying Jewish In College

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Morgan I., Co -Editor-in-Chief

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It’s no secret that most Posnack students did not choose to go to Jewish day school themselves. Most students first came here because their parents wanted to ensure their children had a Jewish education as well as a secular one. And it’s not a shameful thing—whether or not you decided to come to Posnack, you’ve still participated in daily prayers, taken Judaics classes, and overall enhanced your Jewish identity. When you begin college, however, it’s easy to forget about your core Jewish values, since—unless you are pursuing a Jewish studies major or attending a Jewish university—Jewish prayer services and Judaics classes are no longer a requirement, and likely not even offered. Saying goodbye to Jewish day school does not faze me, because my involvement in Jewish affairs has prepared me to practice Judaism in college and for the rest of my life. However, it’s important to make sure you have the motivation to exercise your Judaism in college.

So, the big question you’re probably asking yourself is, Why is it important for me to stay Jewish in college?

Obviously, I don’t literally mean remaining Jewish. Your genes have that covered.

But why stop there? You’ve spent some portion of your life in Jewish day school, whether that’s been 13 years, 3 years, or anything in between. Regardless of the reason you came or how seriously you took your Jewish education, you have a Jewish foundation that most public school students do not. You would have had to literally sleep through Tefillah, Hebrew, and all Judaics classes to actually gain zero Jewish knowledge. So why throw that away? Instead, you should take all of your Jewish knowledge with you to college and use it to participate in and/or lead services at your college’s Hillel, advocate for Israel on campus, etc. Spread your knowledge to those who aren’t as informed. Most importantly, don’t forget about your Judaism.

Once you have the motivation to stay Jewish in college, you’ll need to figure out how to get involved wherever you are. Every college’s Jewish population varies, but chances are the college you end up at will have a Hillel. Hillel is a Jewish organization that began on college campuses. At your college’s Hillel, you can participate in activities with other Jewish students, from challah-baking to Shabbat dinner. Many Hillels also hold religious services.

Many colleges also have pro-Israel clubs, such as AIPAC, for which you can coordinate guest speakers and/or express your Zionist self through protests, public speaking, and more.

There are so many ways to get involved in Jewish affairs in college, it’d be silly not to. Be bold. Take your time in college to own your Jewish self and kick anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism in the tuchas.