There is something really special going on at MEOR. It can be summed up in one word: community.

I never expected that my Friday nights in college would include a Shabbat dinner, but MEOR is different. For the only time each week, I would sit and talk with my friends. Without cell phones, without a television blaring in the background, we would sit at long tables and, over steaming hot chicken soup, discuss our lives, our dreams and goals. MEOR is a place where I could sit down at any chair in the room and introduce myself to someone new. It is a safe space. It is a community.

Four years ago, because of MEOR, Shabbat became a part of my life. Although I was a regular on Friday nights, I never expected to be interested in whatever Jewish learning they were offering. And I wasn’t until my junior year when I discovered that MEOR was offering a two-week trip to Israel for $600. Despite my lack of interest in learning, the trip was affordable and sounded fun.

Through this exploration I found depth and meaning in learning about my shared history with the Jewish people. I found meaning in holding values that are not based on societal pressures but what is truly important to me.

When I first stepped foot in the MEOR house, I never expected those initial Friday dinners to become the first step towards an extraordinary and life-changing path of personal growth and discovery—a path that I am continuing through further study in Israel this year.

Class of 2011, Double Major in Psychological Services and Dance