This was the third year that my roommates and I hosted SHAG in our apartment – how time flies! I invited new and old friends from Hillel and classes. Hillel provided challah, chicken, and grape juice, and everyone brought a dish to share. We had kugel, green beans, potato waffles (like latkes, but in waffle form!), and lots of other delicious food. As always, I worried that there wouldn’t be enough food, and as always, there was more than enough (yay leftovers!). We lit the candles, blessed the wine, and ate. Everyone who came knew someone, but no one knew everyone, so we went around the circle and did some cheesy icebreakers. What’s your name? What good thing happened to you this week? Everyone met someone new and had a chance to reconnect with old friends.
In college, it can be easy to lose sight of Shabbat. We have books to read, papers to write, programs to code. But I’d like to suggest that the intensity of our schedules makes celebrating Shabbat even more important. Whether we mark the new week with a prayer, a nice dinner, or even a run, taking time to reflect and relax prepares us for the work ahead.
Wa-Jew Class of 2015
Since that first event we have participated in a number of other activities that have allowed us to make even more connections. We tie-dyed shirts, picked apples at Carter Mountain Orchard, and most recently went on a sunrise hike on Humpback Rock. I also cannot forget to mention the acclaimed Bagels on the Lawn every week, which an increasing number of first years have been attending. I honestly did not know what to expect out of Hillel, but I have gotten more excited with every event.
As a first year representative, I have also had the opportunity to get more first years involved-- whether that be through promotion of events or just talking to people about what they are looking to get out of Hillel. About two weeks ago I had an idea to organize a first year dinner at one of the dining halls in order for people to get to know each other outside of a Hillel-sponsored event. The turnout wound up being great and there were even a few new faces. This past week we also had our first year retreat and first year movie night, which both went extremely well and seemed to make everyone enthusiastic for the rest of the year. It has been a great experience getting to know my fellow WaJews and I am excited to continue this journey during the next four years.
Wa-Jew Class of 2018
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,000 Jewish students on Grounds.