At Art for the Jewish Heart on Tuesday, Amanda asked us about our identity. She asked us while we cut out pictures from magazines and pasted them around a mirror to reflect how we see ourselves. I honestly was having trouble coming up with a verbal answer to her questions. It's a hard thing to analyze yourself and really say..this is exactly who I am.
The consensus around the table was that everyone has a set of morals and values that represent who they are, but that there are many things about us that change as we grow and learn about all the opportunities we have in this world and the choices we have to become who we want to be.
I have to honestly say (and I know it's going to sound like a plug for Hillel, but) that Hillel, in the few short months that I have been working here and taking part in all the amazing events has really helped me open my eyes to who I am, as a person and more importantly as a Jew. Growing up, I was in a community that was not largely Jewish leaving me with a lot of questions from other people and of my own about what it means to be Jewish. Being at Hillel allows me to ask my questions and formulate my own ideas about what it means to me...
Shabbat every week has introduced me to so many amazing people that I would have never met if it weren't for Hillel. Torah on Tap allows me to have intellectual discussion about Torah that I may not have ever had. Camping Shabbat opened my eyes to the real meaning of Shabbat. I was actually able to really take time and reflect on the week behind me and the week ahead while only surrounded by a campfire, acoustic music and some other amazing Jewish students. There were no distractions at all..no traffic, no lights, only the music, our prayers and our reflection.
So I guess I don't really have an answer for "who I am." I'm a Jewish student that loves to help people. I love to learn new things and I love going on adventures. That doesn't really describe "who I am," but it does tell me how I am going to continue to figure out who I am. How do you identify yourself? What makes you YOU? It's really important to think about. I hope that you will reply or at least take a moment to think about it, really think about it.
Like Rabbi Daniel said, turn off the auto-pilot. Embrace the chances you have to make choices and change how you do things that can overall make your life better.