Elijah Schulman, UNC-Chapel Hill ‘22
Hometown: Washington, DC
Why did you sign up for JLF?
Growing up, my family didn’t belong to a synagogue. We went to services rarely. Most of my Jewish experience revolved around going to Hebrew school. As I got older, especially after my bar mitzvah, a lot of what we would do there, was discuss Jewish topics. What does Judaism think about this? What does the Torah say? What does the Talmud say? That was something I really enjoyed and still feel connected to as part of my childhood. So for me JLF’s Life’s Big Questions cohort was an opportunity to return to that.
What was JLF like?
JLF was really cool. I met a bunch of other Jewish students that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We got to hang out and eat good food and discuss interesting things.
I was surprised to learn about the breadth of topics that Judaism has something to say about. We discussed so many topics that I didn’t realize could be viewed through a Jewish lens. I remember one day we had a really interesting conversation about dealing with conflict--that was probably my favorite session. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to learn about conflict resolution through Judaism.
How has JLF affected your college experience and your connection to Judaism?
I think that outside of JLF, I wouldn’t have considered myself really a part of the Jewish community. JLF is what brought me to Hillel. I wouldn’t know a lot of the people I am friends with now. I probably wouldn’t be going on Birthright. The good relationship I have with Rabbi Melissa and other staff here, is what made me decide to go.
I’m also in AEPi and Rabbi Melissa leads sessions at our fraternity that are really similar to JLF. We read a text and discuss how it relates to our modern lives. These sessions are really valuable to me. Learning and discussing important topics with other people helps me see things in different ways and allows me to consider questions through a Jewish lens. These experiences further the kind of relationship I want to have with Judaism.