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June 19, 2008 - Image 46

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-06-19

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on the cover

continued on page B1

year and are on the board for First Year Students of
Hillel (FYSH) next year.
"We act as a liaison to get freshmen involved to show
that, as big as the U-M community is, you can make it
smaller," Goodman said. "We are also someone they
can talk to for advice, even if it's about classes."

is very pluralistic

and lets each student main-

tain their Jewish identity in

their own way"

Jessica Katz is the Jewish Student Life coordinator
at Michigan State's Hillel. There, and at other Hillel's
around the country, students can choose their own
level of involvement and can participate by simply
showing up to a program.
"Hillel is very pluralistic and lets each student main-
tain their Jewish identity in their own way," Katz said.
"Whether it be through attending Shabbat dinners
on a weekly basis, attending a social program or vol-
unteering through our Tzedek (Community Service)
group, students stay connected how they choose."
According to Katz, Hillel plans a variety of stu-
dent-led social programming. Some events this past
year included an annual IsraelFest featuring Harel
Skaat, Challah-ween, Hanukkah Bash featuring Ha-
dag Nachash, Matzo-ballers Basketball tournament,
Alternative Spring Break trip to Buenos Aires, Argen-
tina, and Sparty's Bar Mitzvah Party

Moskowitz said Hillel is a great place for people
to connect in college. "Depending on the school, of-
ten there is a Reform group and more Conservative
group, and you can figure out where you fit in and
what's comfortable for you," he said.
Another option for maintaining Jewish traditions is
to join a Jewish fraternity or sorority. Horn and Good-
man joined Delta Phi Epsilon, a mostly Jewish sorority.
"The house keeps Passover so we could go there to
eat meals and not be worried about not eating Pass-
over food," Horn said.
The sorority also has a Jewish Greek Council,
which combines sorority life on campus with Jewish
life on campus. According to Horn, the council works
with Greek life to reach out to the students who are
too busy with their sorority to be involved with Hillel.
The council plans events such as Shabbat dinners and
chocolate seders during Passover.
Away at college, students must also decide how to
observe the High Holidays. Out-of-state students de-
bate whether or not to spend the money to fly home,
while in-state students contemplate having their par-
ents pick them up or staying on campus to attend ser-
vices.

"Every synagogue, no matter where it is in the
country, always welcomes in college students who
happen to be far from home," Moskowitz said. 'And
often synagogues will line kids up with home hospital-
ity families."
Host families welcome students into their homes
for other holidays such as Chanukah and Passover
as well. At Duke University in North Carolina, Mos-
kowitz spent his first Passover seder with a host family
There, he became friends with the family's son, who
later attended rabbinical school with him.

Nikki Horn and Shayna Goodman, both 19, found their Jewish

niche at U-M.

"I definitely think it's important for Jewish students
to connect with other Jews in different ways and to
meet Jews in other communities as well because you
see how people celebrate Judaism in their lives," Mos-
kowitz said.

However, students should not fret about losing
touch with their local synagogue once at college. In
fact, many synagogues in Metro Detroit send Cha-
nukah, Purim and Shabbat care packages to college
students. Some synagogues even send clergy to visit
students. Cantor Earl Berris and Rabbi Elliot Pachter
from Congregation B'nai Moshe in West Bloomfield
have dinner with students at in-state universities a few
times a year.

Goodman and Horn are happy they found their
Jewish niche at U-M, and they were especially glad to
have each other for roommates. Goodman admitted
having a Jewish roommate made life easier, "You have
someone else there who understands
what you're going through, and you
can support them, and they can support
you."

Stephanie Steinberg, 18, recently gradu-

ated from North Farmington High School.

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