It was the first day of move-in for my first year at University of Maryland, College Park. My dad helped me move into my dorm and then, to my complete shock, dropped me off at Maryland Hillel with the firm suggestion, “Go make friends.” I was terrified until I walked in and started meeting the […]
As a convert, I know what it feels like to be nervous walking into Jewish spaces. Now it’s my job to make sure no one feels like that.
I didn’t come to college with the mindset of, “Oh, time to convert to Judaism.” That wasn’t on my agenda. But, I do credit a lot of the Rutgers Hillel staff and the student board for the work they did to make Hillel such a pluralistic and accessible space for people like me.
Coming from a tight-knit Modern Orthodox community, I was worried about maintaining my customs when I first got to college.
“I grew up a practicing Catholic, but as I got older, I began to question my beliefs.”
“When I was moving into my apartment at Michigan State University, someone said to me, ‘Do you have to hang up your mezuzah? Do you need to tell the entire world your Jewish?’ I said, ‘Yes, of course.’”
“As a child, I grew up without any connection to Judaism.”
“My dad is Jewish, and my mom is Filipino Catholic. Growing up, I felt pressured by my Jewish relatives to only focus on my Judaism and forget about the other parts of my identity.”
Because I am an above-the-knee amputee, I know that I’m not as fast as others. But on the ski slope, I can catch up and even ski by others.