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February 12, 1993 - Image 118

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Other Students
The number of Jewish students on
campus will suggest but not guaran-
tee the quality of Jewish campus life.
The more students, the more likely
that there will be several circles of
Jewish students with .varied Jewish
interests. If these groups are not
already present , it will be difficult to
develop them on your own.
This may not seem important now.
However, just as many course offer-
ings ensure the opportunity to change
your academic major, so a healthy
and creative Jewish campus environ-
LU
ment will permit you to openly enjoy
= and enrich your Jewish identity, how
and when you choose.
Before enrolling, try to meet peo-
ple in your home community who
ED - have attended the schools under con-
sideration, especially students with
U-1 interests similar to yours. If possible,
visit the school, speak with Jewish
w
= students who live in the dorms, with
the Hillel staff, the admissions office,
the dorm director. Inquire about the
number of Jewish faculty on campus

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College offers new and exciting
opportunities - new friends, new
ideas, new experiences. This is a
time of exploration, not only of the
world about you but, most important-
ly, of yourself.
In meeting others from far different
backgrounds and in debating con-
cepts in and out of the classroom,
you will also come to "know thyself':
who you are and who you want to be.
College is a precious and rare time
for reflection and redefinition.
This is also the ideal time to
explore your own Jewish heritage,
not as a child but as a questioning,
maturing adult, to ask questions
about history or ethics or philosophy
or social forms or the meaning of ritu-
als, and to get answers that satisfy
you.
You may accept or decline the
invitation to participate in a wide vari-
ety of activities - parties, retreats,
sports, holiday observances, discus-
sions, etc. - or you can create activi-
ties that help you enjoy your heritage
in the most meaningful ways. It is
your choice, and your opportunity to
know this Jewish dimension of "thy-
self' in ways not contemplated or
available until now.
Because you will be growing and
changing in college, year by year, it is
important to keep your options open
about Jewish association and Jewish
understanding, as important as
examining the possibilities of the uni-
versity's course offerings or social
world.
In making your choice of a college
home for the next four years, some
factors to consider are:

1 99 Aq Aep s meN w

A Checklist Of Considerations For The College Bound

and their involvement with Jewish
students.
You will find that college chaplains,
whether or not they are Jewish, are
usually sympathetic to your concerns.
If a visit is impossible, make these
important inquiries by phone.
If you are considering a school
with very few Jewish students, con-
sider also the fact that many of your
classmates may be unfamiliar with
Jews. Will you be comfortable
explaining your identity to others?
What will you say?

The Hillel Foundation
The presence on campus of a
B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation is one
way to tell that the school has a sig-
nificant Jewish population. Each
foundation has a professional staff
and enough Jewish students, faculty,
and activities to keep the place quite
busy. The presence of a foundation,
even if you never affiliate, indicates a
variety of Jewish options that are not
present on a campus without a Hillel
Foundation or similar group with full-
time staff.
Activities for Jewish students on
campuses served part time or by vol-
unteers will be much more limited,
although some small colleges do
have quality programs for Jewish stu-
dents. For a realistic assessment of
the social environment and level of
activity on campus. speak with the
staff at the Hillel counselorship, affili-
ate or extension program before
enrolling. If you are unsure about
whom to contact, call the nearest
Hillel Regional Center.

Proximity to Jewish Community
If you are considering schools with
small Jewish enrollments, try to
choose one that is in or near a
Jewish community. When Jewish life
on campus is limited, the nearby
community becomes even more
important. Large cities offer a variety
of activities and services for Jewish
students, small communities are
often actively involved in the Hillel
program on campus and offer home
hospitality for the holidays.
If the nearest Jewish center is far
away you may find the going a bit
lonely. Some students in relatively
isolated situations become more
actively Jewish as a way of defying
their environment; other students
decide to remain Jewishly "invisible"
during these years rather than contin-
ually explain themselves to a campus
population relatively unfamiliar with
Jews. College offers enough chal-
lenges as is; it is not necessary to
make it even more difficult.

Kosher Food
Students who keep kosher should
check to see which options are avail-
able on campus, and if kosher food is
available in the local community. A
number of schools have alternative
kosher meal plans which may not
cost more than the regular meal plan.
Other schools will allow you a rebate
on your board bill, permitting you to
eat at Hillel, join a kosher co-op, or
find facilities on or off campus to pre-
pare your own food. If the school has
a mandatory meal contract, find out
what meat substitutes are available.

In some places vegetarian food is
available, but this may not be a suit-
able substitute for your kosher needs.
Discuss your alternatives with the
Hillel staff and if you visit the campus,
sample the fare.
Even if you do not keep kosher on
a regular basis, you may want to see
if Shabbat and holiday meals are
available at Hillel, on campus, or in a
nearby community. Communal cele-
brations can be an important way of
maintaining Jewish fellowship at col-
lege.

Shabbat and Holiday Conflicts
Does the University consider
Jewish interests in scheduling regis-
tration, Parents Weekend, and gradu-
ation? Is the University flexible about (
rescheduling classes or exams that
fall on Shabbat and Holidays? If you
select a college with a few Jewish
students, will you feel comfortable
requesting a special exemption to
take an exam scheduled for Passover
or Yom Kippur at another time? It is
important to discuss these matters
with the Hillel staff or the dean of stu-
dents.

Jewish Study
Many schools offer concentrations
in Jewish Studies, and many more
offer courses through the
Departments or Religion, History,
Anthropology, Sociology, or related
disciplines. Other schools permit
cross-registration at nearby colleges,
and give credit for courses taken at
those institutions. Still others permit
you to prepare for careers in Jewish
life through joint study at the universi-

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