In our Hands: Jewish Life Student Initiatives

The Talmud teaches that God laughs when God’s own children surpass Him (excuse gender). L’havdil* this semester I find myself smiling from a very deep place in my heart as I watch how enthusiastically and capably Jewish students are steering Jewish Life at Georgetown.  The amount of student-initiative I see this year astounds me, and what they are producing often surpasses anything I could’ve dreamed up.

This year alone, AMONG the many things students have initiated and implemented are:

  • A Jewish-Muslim Women’s brunch group (25 women, evenly divided by religion attended the first brunch).
  • A Jewish-Hindu religious services and texts sharing event.
  • A Bayit dinner group discussing jewish identity.
  • Three group visits to the United States Holocaust Museum.
  • Two group trips to see a performance of Bad Jews at Studio Theater.
  • A trip to Bullet-Prove Stockings (A Chassidic Women’s Band performance at Sixth and I Historic synagogue).
  • And a partridge in a pear tree!

And then there’s Shabbat.  What a beautiful thing Shabbat at Georgetown has become.
At the time of my writing, we’ve had four Shabbatot so far this semester.  Fifty-three students was the number of students at the least attended and eighty-three was the amount of the well attended. Last week, we invited a Jesuit to speak in honor of Jesuit Heritage Week. Happily, a full 80% of the students in attendance were Jewish.  And also happily, about 20% were guests who wanted to learn more about Judaism.

Here’s what a visiting parent had to say about the experience:

shabbat fb“I’ve always believed that if you build meaningful Jewish experiences, they will come.  In the case of Jewish Life at Georgetown it’s proving even more accurate to say: Lay the foundation, and they’ll construct something that surpasses your imagination, and will truly make you smile.”

*L’havdil is an expression we use when comparing UNLIKE things that are nonetheless similar.  In this case me and God – l’havdil!

Written by Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Director for Jewish Life at Georgetown University

Jesuit Heritage Week
Student Organizations