Jordan here! My oh my, it has been a long time since I posted on here. First and foremost, Welcome Back Gators and WELCOME to all our new Gator friends. I hope you all had just as great of a summer as I did.
Awhile back some of you may have read my post about finding your Jewish Identity (Click here if you haven't read it yet) and this summer I went on an adventure of a lifetime to help me discover even more about my Jewish Identity. I was lucky enough to join UF Hillel on one of their three Birthright trips to Israel. I had never even been out of the country so this trip for me was the absolute highlight of my summer. Being in Israel is something that is so hard to get into words, but truly one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life.
You see things you have only heard about in Hebrew school and at Shabbat services. You meet people that are living and breathing the Jewish culture. I truly felt like I had come home. They ask about your "aha" moments on the trip and while I had many, my first one was on Yom Hazikaron (Israel Memorial Day). Our bus joined in the memorial service at the Kibbutz we were staying on and even though the entire service was in Hebrew, I felt like I knew exactly what they were saying. There was such a strong feeling of community and sense of belonging that I have never felt as strongly anywhere else.
I think this is such an important aspect of anywhere that you are living. You have to find your community, your family, a place where you feel safe and accepted. I hope that one of those places for you will be UF Hillel. I began working as the PR Intern last fall and it has been such a rewarding year for me. I have made friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life, I have learned so much more about the Jewish people and Judaism than I had learned in my life before and really started to discover more about who I am and where I am going. It is a place to learn and grow and you also get to enjoy some really great food :)
If you missed our earlier events this week for Welcome Week don't be discouraged. Tonight Hillel is hosting Torah on Tap at Leonardo's Pizza on 13th and University. Torah on Tap is one my favorite events Hillel hosts each week. Great conversation with Rabbi Daniel and Hillel staff along with pizza and beer (for those of age). This event gets those wheels turning and helps you dig deeper into what being Jewish means to YOU.
Join us tonight at 9pm for Torah on Tap and Friday night for Shabbat services at 7:30p.m. with free Kosher dinner following at 8:30p.m.
It's going to be a great year and I can't wait to meet all of you!