I went to Hebrew school growing up, but it was not a big thing in my family to practice Jewish customs. It was a bit of a struggle after my mom passed away six years ago. My dad’s not Jewish and although he was very supportive, by the time I was in high school, I had to navigate my Jewish identity by myself.

When I came to Stanford, I went to High Holiday services, got connected to Hillel and met people who made me feel extremely comfortable in the Jewish community. I went to a freshman Shabbat dinner at the MEOR rabbi’s house and that re-kindled the spark.

Even when I was a little kid, I appreciated being in temple. There was something about it that made me want to stay connected–to spirituality and to God.

Around the anniversary of my mother’s passing, I contacted the MEOR rabbi and asked if I could take him up on his offer to buy me coffee. He has an open invitation to all the Jewish students to take them to coffee and talk about whatever they want. He answered my questions in a way that was fulfilling for an hour, and I was very interested in continuing to learn.

So last fall, I did the Maimonides program and it really snowballed. The rabbi and I have been meeting weekly. We try for one hour, but we usually go two or more, because the subject matter is so interesting and inspiring! We meet on Fridays and it’s a perfect segue into Shabbat. It’s a time to reflect and strive for something a bit deeper than the busy-ness of the week.

Class of 2013, Biology Major