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October 25, 1985 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-25

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_FridavecOtnr, 25, 1985 27


A new project enables college-age
Jews to experience religious,
cultural and
in a shared communal living



Contributing Editor

The definition of a "Jewish
drop-out" as a youngster
with an M.A.', is credible
enough. Although Jews make
up less than three per cent of
the general population, they
comprise at least 10 per cent
of academia. Which Jewish
youngster is not 'sent to col-
lege? I had Jewish neighbors,
born in Europe, who serious-
ly named their three. sons
Yale, Harvard and Princeton
because as they explained,
they wanted the very best
•America could offer their -
Jews believe in college.
They send 85 to 90 per cent
of their children to colleges,
easily twice, the number of .
the non-Jewish populace.
Some 400,000 Jewish young
people are enrolled in Amer-
ican colleges and universities.
Jewish teachers make up 10
per cent of our college facul-
ties, some 50,Q00 strong, and
the percentage rises at elite
schools. College is opportuni-
ty and few Jews would con-
template denying their child-
ren exposure to that environ-
ment. Jews have struggled
long and hard against school
quotas; their traditional lib-
eralism stops at the threshold
of affirmative action in the
area of education.
And yet, college has been
described as a "disaiter area"
for Jewish youth. Thrown to-
gather .onto populous cam-
puses with persons of tiff
ferent races, religions and
creeds, loosened from paren-
tal and local communal ties,
. pressured by a new environ-

On the night before Passover last year, a group of Bayit members relax in
their preprations at the,Northridge, hgUse on the California State
University campus.

ment ofs fierce academic corn- -
about Judaism, the "about-
petition; Jewish young people
ism" which constitutes so
fin d themselves thrust into
much of Jewish education,
an alien world of peers. Dr.
the rhetoric of meta-Judaism
Seymour Halleck, Director of
which talks "about" the Sab-
Students at the University of
bath, "about" the festivals,
Wisconsin, observed that a
"about" Jewish values. They
student can spend months at
need a place and time of their
a large campus without hav-
own for their own experimen-
ing a conversation with a per
ting with their own friends.
son over 30 years of age, n-
They need a natural Jewish
tact between faculty and stu-
environment of their own
dent body is notoriously limi-
making, fashioned in their
ted. Away from home, many
own imagination, expressing
experience the vertigo of free-
their. own -competencies. -
dom, the opportunity to try
They need a Bayit; or home,
on multiple masks in order to
a living Jewish ambiance in
find suitable persona. The
which to eat and drink and
barriers are down. The college
sing and laugh and' celebrate,
environment is the least seg-
a' place and time to explore
regated in their. lives.
their adult Jewishneos, to
College youth are free from
form deeper friendships, to
parental controlii. 'They who
cultivate their Jewish sensi- The Bayit Project house at the Wesiwood campus of UCLA in Los Angeles.
have been driven to Hebrew
The project homes are a place for Jewish youth to explore their adult identities,
schools, sent to junior con-
Now there are such homes form 'deeper friendships, cultivate their Jewish sensibilities.
gregations, taken to Jewish
on campuses throughout the
youth activities, ticketed for
United States. The Bayit
Goland's involvement with
San Diego, CA (1982)
High Holy Day services,
Project is a brilliant idea
the Westwood Bayit, a Jew-
University of California,
bussed to Jewish summer
whose time has come; more,
ish communal living house at
Berkeley, CA (1982) .
camps, assigned Bar and Bat
it is an emerging reality in
UCLA. As a result of this in-
—The Claremont Colleges,
Mitzvah dates, graduated
our midst. Young Jewish men
volvement, he started the
Claremont, CA (1982)
and, confirined by parental
and women, preparing for col-
Bayit Project with the ex-
—Univereity 'of California,
will -- are now free to attend
lege or in college, would be press purpose of setting Ba-
Santa Barbara, CA (1983)
or not to attend services and
greatly helped in their new tim up at colleges throughout
—California Institute of
to date whom they will. Free
environment by a cadre of the United States. Presently,
"Technology, Pasadena,
and lonely, they are caught
colleagueO for whom college
the Project is a non-profit cor- ,
CA (1983)
up in a' dizzy ambivalence.
need not open alienation. -
poration and is seekmg finan-
—University of Arizona,
They are free at last but over-
The Bayit Project I refer to, cial support from the Jewish
Tucson, AZ (1984)
whelmed by the size of the
,benables college-age Jews to
community at large. The Pro-
—Arizona State University,
student body, the unfamiliar-
experience religious, cultural ject now has houses operat-
Tempe, AZ (1983)
ity of the environment, and
and social involvement in a
ing at the following campus-
—University of California,
the impersonalism of the in-
shared communal living et- es.
Santa Cruz, CA (1984)
stitutional mega-structure.
•mosphere. The Project began
—UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
—San -Francisco State
They resent forever being
in July 1981, under the au-
(1974, joined the Bayit
University, San Fran-
chosen,, but now tl e can
spices of Michael Goland, a
Project in 1981)
cisco, 'CA (1984)
choose. But where, wno and
private entrepreneur in the —California State Universi-
—University of Oregon,
with whom? :
West San Fernando Valley.
ty, Northridge, CA (1981)
Eugene, OR (1984)
They resent being lectured
The Project grew out of Mr.
University of California,
Continued on next page




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