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Reconnecting with Your Religion At College: My Experience Finding New Jewish Roots

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

Sometimes it may be hard to find a religious group to connect with or continue to practice your religion. All my life I have been involved in Jewish organizations, and coming to college I was hesitant to apply myself into a new group. I grew up very religious as Conservative Jewish and partly Modern Orthodox. Being that, there are not many Jews or people you find who are Jewish, I thought it would be hard to connect with a group. Little did I know there would be many opportunities for me to express my religion.

As the “Jewish holiday season” approached: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Festival of Harvest), I wanted to find a space where I could pray and be with people of the same religion. Along with celebrating the holidays, I wanted to find a place on Fridays for Shabbat, our “day of rest” and honoring the creation of the world. I decided to experience these holidays differently from my family traditions and join both the Chabad and Hillel organizations. At both organizations, I was welcomed and I was able to meet such kind people. Hillel involved more activities, and I was able to connect with Rabbi Pinny from Chabad, but nonetheless, both organizations had a community feel to them.

Not only did I find a new group to connect with and share a part of my religion, I was able to explore what Birthright could give me. Birthright gives  Jewish college students an opportunity to take a trip to Israel and other countries. Moreover, this opportunity can allow me to explore my Jewish identity further.

There will always be a space for you no matter what religion or group you identify with. Colleges have such a diverse set of organizations and clubs. There will always be a new set of friends waiting for you!

Hello! I am Maya (She/Her). I currently go to the University of South Florida and pursuing a degree in Political Science and Journalism. My hometown is Orlando, Florida. I also love fashion, food, music, and meditation/yoga. I always strive for diversity and inclusion not only in my writing but to bring it to everyday conversation.