Newsletter Spring 2018 (1)

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Y O U H E L P M A K E

A D I F F E R E N C E

MY TALE

Josh Berger '18

Before attending Chabad my

Junior year at Chapman

University, Judaism and I were

in a weird place with one

another; if we were on

Facebook, our relationship

status would read ‘it’s

complicated’

Despite the fact that I had attended the JCC for

preschool and a private Jewish day school up until

5th grade, I had never considered myself to be truly,

authentically, and wholly Jewish.

"Immediately, I was made to feel at home.

As we said the Kiddush together, broke

Challah with one another..."

Immediately, I was made to feel at home. As we

said the Kiddush together, broke Challah with one

another, discussed the week’s Torah portion, and

recited prayers in harmony, I could feel a change

from within me. The community Rabbi Eliezer

helped establish and develop at Chapman Chabad

was one of inclusivity. I was not made to feel

marginalized or thought of by others as “less than”

because of the extent of my practice of faith.

Aside from the prayer, the meals, and the holidays

spent with Chabad, what sticks with me most now

as an alumnus were all the conversations I had that

emerged spontaneously between the scheduled

programming.

THE LIVES YOU'VE TOUCHED

Sure, I could recite the Hamotzi and wine blessings

by heart, and, yes, I did have a Bar Mitzvah and held

distinctly Jewish values concerning family,

education, and morality, but wasn’t being Jewish

about being more than that?

Before Chabad, I would tell others that I was merely

reform, or that I was only culturally Jewish; I felt

Jewish. Rabbi Eliezer and Chabad at Chapman

fundamentally changed my own perception of my

relationship with Judaism by teaching me that those

stipulations that I imposed on myself and my

identity-- “merely” and “only” -- did not exist.

From the moment I stepped into Rabbi Eliezer’s

home, I was greeted with smiles from himself, his

wife, Mushky, and his two children, Yasef and Mirel.

I have made many friends at Chabad that I not only

kept in touch with throughout the rest of my time at

Chapman, but also continue to keep in touch with

today. I have even brought friends to Chabad, from

Chapman and from afar, in an effort to share with

them an important piece of myself and my heritage.

Chabad teaches others about Jewish history,

philosophy, morality, and culture in a way that

doesn’t seek to evangelize, but rather to merely

enlighten.

Rabbi Eliezer and Chapman Chabad catalyzed my

growth as a person by making me more educated

about and proud of my Jewish faith. I look forward

to seeing how Chapman Chabad continues to

expand serve more people, and to hearing the many

other success stories that come from other people

like me in the near future. L'chaim!

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