Her search for a sense of family while away at school guided her to University of Maryland’s Campus Hillel. Jennifer shares how that involvement shaped the trajectory of her Jewish journey as a young adult.
“At age 18, I left home for the University of Maryland. I loved all that the large, vibrant campus had to offer, but I missed the close sense of community I felt back home. I went to visit the campus Hillel and immediately fell in love with much it had to offer. Hillel quickly became my home away from home—expanding my Jewish identity in ways I could never imagine while away at school. The work each Hillel does is critical to ensuring that Jewish students have access to Jewish continuity on campus, an impact that transcends far beyond our Hillel years, just as it did for me.
Hillel gave me so much during my four years at University of Maryland that upon graduation in 2014, I wanted to give back to the Jewish community and find a way for young professional Jews to feel connected and empowered in reaching their potential as young leaders.
After graduating, I moved into the Bethesda Moishe House, an innovative Jewish nonprofit with a residential model which trains, supports and sponsors young Jewish leaders so they can create vibrant communities for themselves and their peers between the ages of 22-32. My fellow residents and I engaged hundreds of post-graduates in meaningful Jewish life activities week after week, year after year. It was my years at Hillel that led me to continue my involvement in Jewish life. No matter where I go in life, I know that Hillel will be with me. Hillel is a special place because of the values, commitment, spirit and sense of community that transcends far beyond the campus and stays with us for life.“