Being A Jew At Not-So-Jewish Miami University

Being A Jew At Not-So-Jewish Miami University

"If you're a Jew, why don't you wear the big black hat?"
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"If you're a Jew, why don't you wear the big black hat?"

Since coming to Miami University, I've actually been asked this question multiple times. Being a Jew at Miami is really different from being a Jew from the Northern suburbs of Chicago. Where I grew up, I spent every weekend of seventh grade at multiple Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and here, people don’t even know what those are. Where I grew up, there are temples in every town; here, well, have you ever seen a temple in Oxford? Where I grew up, we don’t have school on major Jewish holidays. Here, that’s not the case.

Coming to Miami, I knew the Jewish community wouldn’t be as large as Chicago’s, but I knew it existed. I just had to find it. Luckily, there are great programs here that help Jews get back to their roots during their crazy college lives. At Miami, we have both Chabad and Hillel, which are organizations aimed at bringing Jews together on college campuses.

I’m so grateful for both of these amazing organizations. I haven’t been to Hillel very much yet, but I’ve made great friends from the few times I’ve gone and I plan to get more involved in the future. I’ve been more involved with Chabad, and I absolutely love attending Chabad events. The family who runs Chabad at Miami is now like family to me, and they would do anything to help Miami students feel more at home.

There’s a great program run by the Chabad rabbi called Sinai Scholars, where students can apply to come to a group meeting once a week. At Miami, Rabbi Yossi Greenberg ran Sinai Scholars, and it was an amazing experience for me. Through this program, I met some great people and learned so much about Judaism and how my own thoughts of Judaism can sometimes be so different from other people. We played games, had discussions, watched videos, and went on field trips. It was an unforgettable experience, and I couldn’t be more thankful I was able to be involved.

On the first day of Sinai Scholars, we talked about what it meant to be Jewish. We talked a lot about how being Jewish makes us a part of a huge family. After hearing this, I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it. We talked about how seeing a fellow Jew on campus is exciting, and to me, it’s true. Seeing another Jew on campus makes Miami feel more like home to me.

As odd as it might sound, coming to college was a very eye-opening experience for me religiously. Just like many people have told me they’ve never met a Jew before, one of my best friends at Miami is Mormon, and before her, I don’t think I’d ever met a Mormon before.

Miami is so diverse, and it has helped me become more aware of how our differences are actually kind of similar. I’m proud to be Jewish in a not-so-Jewish community, and I will continue to share my knowledge of Judaism with others, as well as expand my knowledge of the other religions practiced around me.

Cover Image Credit: Stephanie Birnbaum

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A Letter From God To Help You Finish The Semester

God sees your struggles and He's here to give you strength and motivation.
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My Child,

The lack of motivation towards the end of the semester is normal. You are mentally and physically tired, but you are almost at the end. Don’t stop walking down the perfect path I have for you. When you’re going along and you come upon a speedbump, I want you to go over it and keep driving. The paper you have to write and the test you have to study for are just small speedbumps I have given you to make you wiser. You can write that paper and you can gain motivation to study for that test. I am here to give you strength, and am here to open up your mind and give you motivation.

You are so loved. You have such a beautiful mind. The light of Jesus shines through your eyes and your smile brings comfort to the world. There’ll be times you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. There’ll be times you feel like the task I have given you is impossible to perform. But remember this: I would never put anything upon your shoulders that you cannot carry. If I put you in a certain situation, it’s because I know you are strong enough to go through it.

When you feel like crying, cry to me. When you feel like a failure, remember how much I love you. You are not a failure and you are not going to give up. I will hold your hand through every second of your life. I will seek your heart through your darkest moments. I see you, I see your heart, and I see your burdens. And remember that I have your heart which means I also have your burdens. Follow my footsteps and you will be free from the doubt. Remember Mark 4:40-41: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I have the power to calm any storm and wave. I have the power to calm YOUR storms and waves. Set your doubt, anger, and tiredness in my hands and simply be patient.

Romans 8:14-15 says,“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Nothing can separate you from my love. Not even your lack of motivation. You have no motivation because you do not feel good enough. You are more than good enough. You were perfectly made by me and when I look down at you, I think of how proud I am of your heart.

Throughout the last few weeks of this semester, you will stumble upon speedbumps. But hold the hand of my son Jesus and you will be able to go over that speedbump with ease. Go write that paper, go study for that test, and go get an A in that class. I know you can because I have given you power.

Love,

God

Cover Image Credit: Margaret Carnes

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.

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After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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