During my first year at Temple University, I discovered a number of different people, groups, communities and organizations that made me feel welcomed and allowed me to call Temple my home away from home.
But the Jewish community here stands out in my mind.
Hillel, an organization at Temple that unites Jewish students, gave me a place where I can bond with other students and be myself. Last year, Hillel held a two-day event where incoming freshmen of Jewish backgrounds could gather and explore the city. This is where I met my first friends, many of whom I now call my second family.
Later, I found other Jewish organizations, like Chabad and Meor.
Through these groups, I attended Shabbat every Friday evening. This is a prominent part of the Jewish religion and is a day during the week where you are supposed to relax. It begins with Friday night services at sunset that leads into a big family-style dinner and ends on Saturday at sunset, with another set of services and dinner.
I enjoyed home cooked meals and was surrounded by my closest friends. We got the chance to relax at the end of the week and not worry about school or other responsibilities for a day.
I participated in a Maimonides fellowship program through Meor that helped me learn more about my heritage and taught me a lot about who I am as a person, as well as a Jew. I got the opportunity to experience all different levels of Judaism. It was amazing seeing everyone of different religious levels, come together as one over the course of the program and even more so over the Shabbaton weekend.
Being involved in the Jewish community at Temple helped me find somewhere I can be surrounded by familiarity. It’s an amazing feeling to be able around places, things and people that truly make you feel accepted.
Knowing that I have people around me who share many of the same values as I made me feel a lot less alone at Temple. I know that if I ever have a problem or just need someone to vent to or a shoulder to cry on, I can always count on this community.
As I begin my sophomore year, I am getting more and more involved in Temple’s Jewish community. I want to introduce incoming Jewish students to these safe spaces where they can make friends who share similar beliefs and interests as them.
I am proud to call Temple my second home and will forever cherish the second family I have made.