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  • Hillels of Georgia

More Than an Hour Session

By Zarah Goldberg, KSU '24

Being a freshman in college, it is easy for life to get hectic and stressful. However, I had the opportunity for an hour every Wednesday for eight weeks to take a breather. I had an hour just to learn, indulge, bond, and reflect, but it was an hour I looked forward to every week. Being a student in JLF 2, was an amazing opportunity for me to not only learn and reflect on Hebrew texts but also learn and reflect on myself. While I was discovering what forgiveness and goodbyes meant in the Jewish aspect, I was able to ponder how it applies to me. Discussing the relationship between spiritual Judaism and religious Judaism allowed me to better understand how I have grown up practicing Judaism compared to others. The part of this discussion with my peers that struck me the most was the realization that while we all had different proportions of these types of Judaism dominating our lives, we also had so many aspects that we all related on. While “Jewish geography” can display a bond that all Jews share, it is just one way that we showcase this strong relationship. In class I was able to see this bond rooted deeper through similar traditions, recipes passed down from generations, the same feeling that the Kol Nidre instrumental gives us, but most importantly our pride in our faith. We all might not have attended Jewish day school or camp, but we all were in JLF because we wanted to be and are devoted to understanding something that is such an important part of our lives.

Although Torah and other Hebrew texts were a focus of the course, I believe the purpose of the course was to allow Jewish college students across Georgia colleges to connect. Whether it was logging on to our zoom session and saying what song described our mood for the day or being in havruta swapping interpretations of the sources, we were constantly getting the chance to collaborate with other Jewish college students and two incredibly insightful teachers. I left with 15 new friends and 2 pending coffee dates, not just classmates and teachers.

If there’s anything I’ve learned as a Jew, it’s that it is our duty to keep our community and bonds strong through relationships and textual knowledge, and JLF does just that without you even knowing it. I’ve become educated on such a wide variety of topics and been introduced to some of the most fascinating guest speakers because of this program. The lesson I took the most from this course is (credit to Taylor) “don’t be a stranger”. We are all part of the same Jewish family and it is vital that we contribute to it and lean on each other in order for it to survive, so while my one-hour breathers and conversations every Wednesday night might have come to an end, my connections with others and my faith didn’t.

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