Lauren Pace `12
Judaism has always been a big part of my life. In fact, it’s probably a big part of what got me to Dartmouth. In High School I was a Jewish Extracurricular All-Star; president of my Temple Youth Group, Regional Board Member for the North American Federation of Temple Youth… the list goes on. So by the time I got to college, I have to admit that I was pretty burnt out on the whole Jewish youth community concept. I figured I had gotten what I could out of it in high school, and now that mom and dad weren’t around, why bother with anything more than the perfunctory High Holidays services?
Like most freshmen, I clearly had no idea what I was doing.
Fast-forward to sophomore year. My best friend dragged me to the Chabad house for Shabbat dinner, promising Kosher wine and a solid “Jewish facetime” scene. Of course, after my first Shabbat with Rabbi Grey, his wife Chani, and their four adorable kids, I was hooked. I started getting involved with Jewish life on campus and realized that I had actually missed being part of this type of community… a Jewish community. These were people who got me, who shared my value system and who had grown up with a similar background to mine. I came to find that being Jewish on campus is about so much more than your religious beliefs or your feelings about G-d or the Torah, it’s about connecting to like-minded people and allowing them to enhance and enrich your campus experience, both secular and religious.
Since sophomore year, I have been on Hillel’s Project Preservation trip twice – once as a participant and once as a student leader, I have completed the Sinai Scholars curriculum, and I have attended countless weekly Shabbat dinners at Chabad. But those are just the tangible ways that Jewish life at Dartmouth has made an impact. Perhaps even more importantly, it has allowed me to reconnect with my own roots and learn a lot about myself, while simultaneously connecting me with a community of incredible peers, mentors and friends. Looking back on my four years here, I can say that Jewish life has truly been one of the most integral parts of my Dartmouth experience.