Jewish Girl at a Catholic College

When I first picked out Manhattan College, I was aware that it was a straight up Catholic school. During this time period, I was aware of my identity of a Jewish girl but I didn’t care to go to a Jewish college. While I am half Catholic, my mom is Jewish, which essentially makes me Jewish, but it wasn’t something that I practiced until my life was changed on my first trip to Israel. My identity was something that always felt all over the place for me, until I started figuring out more about my Jewish past and started to practice and incorporate the religion into my everyday life. Also, with my sister practicing Judaism more than me, she was someone I tended to look up to when I was searching for my religious identity. 

Being Jewish isn’t always easy as well, this religion comes with a dark past of being oppressed for no reason and tons of Anti-Semitism. For example, the Holocaust, like myself, a lot of Jew’s have experienced ancestors dying the in the Holocaust. It is a horrific thing to consider lingering in your past. I was able to embrace a lot of this history in Israel as well when I visited Yad Vashem, which is a famous Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. I saw pretty disturbing Nazi propaganda and it made me want to fight for my religion even more. 

On top of all of this, I do experience a lot of Anti-Semitism on the internet and in real life. Not personally, but the disturbing things I read about hate towards Jews unsettling. This is something I will always fight for, but it gets to a point where the frustration gets so severe, I have to just walk away. Judaism has taught me not to care what people think though, I will continue to walk around with my Jewish “chai” (means: “life”, in Hebrew) 

The most important thing to me about this religion is that it taught me to be more open to other religions as well. If I want someone to accept me, then I must accept them as well. Although I feel like a bit of an outlier in a community of Catholics and Muslims, it makes me feel proud to be more individual and to love my religion no matter what anyone thinks. Judaism makes me feel better spiritually, emotionally and mentally. It is something that no one can take of me and will remain with me for the rest of my life.