Navigating Judaism On A Small Campus

Being Jewish is one of the many things in life that people learn to appreciate over time. This is because many of us do not realize that we are lucky to be a part of such a wonderful community. No matter where you are from or how old you are, being Jewish is something we all have in common. There are no words to truly describe the connection we feel when we meet someone new who is also Jewish. There is a bond that is so strong between us. It is just who we are as Jews.

Along with being Jewish, most of us love playing the game of “Jewish Geography” when meeting that someone new. Playing the game and having the bond that we have as Jews, we create a warm-welcoming family-like feel. As Jews, we tend to be supportive and there for others. We love to give a helping hand to others in need and we love to help others in our own community. We just enjoy being there and being involved in the community.

This is part of what it is like being a Jew in the Twin Cities area. Most of us grew up knowing each other from the start which truly helps with the bond that we all share. We are all such a tight-knit community in the Twin Cities community. This is something that I have continued to appreciate over the years. I have loved that no matter where my friends or family may be, we are all so close and have that sense of community instilled in us. This carries through to college, where we choose what’s right and what’s best for us. This is why I chose to go to a smaller university: I wanted small classes, I wanted to be able to know the teachers on a one-on-one basis, I wanted to be known by my name and not by a number, I wanted to get to know my peers better and I wanted somewhere I could feel comfortable. This is exactly all of the things that Bradley University had to offer. From the moment I stepped on Bradley’s campus, I knew this place was the right one for me.

Ever since I was in high school or even before that, I knew a sorority was one of the organizations that I wanted to be a part of. Yes, there are stereotypes when it comes to sororities, but luckily on my campus, those stereotypes did not come to reality for us.

I ended up joining Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) my freshman year on campus as a result of making my dreams of being in a sorority come true. This may sound cheesy, but it has truly been my home away from home. Sigma Delta Tau all over the nation is known as a primarily Jewish organization. This made me very excited to know that it was a Jewish organization as I wanted to be apart of the Jewish life on campus. I also have relatives that are Sigma Delta Tau alumni.  

With Bradley University being a small campus, I knew the Jewish population was small, but I did not get a chance to realize how small it was until I joined SDT: there are only about 10 of us who are Jewish.

It’s still fun and all since we all play “Jewish Geography” and we all feel that special bond that is a hard one to describe. We all figured out that we know some of the same people and that made us even closer as a group, even if there is only just 10 of us. It was hard for me at first to realize that we had a small group of us, but as time went on I got to appreciate Judaism and my sorority as a whole.

My sorority was founded by seven Jewish women who were discriminated against because they were Jewish. My sorority is also based off of Jewish values and we try to accept anyone, no matter who they may be. It is also one of the most diverse ones on our campus and each of us come together to make a sense of communities, just like us Jews do in the Twin Cities.

My sorority sisters are my family and help make it SDT my home away from home. Just like how the Jewish community in the Twin Cities do. I love being Jewish, I love being a Jew in the Twin Cities, and I also love being a Jew on Bradley University’s campus.

I am hopeful that others will find their home away from home, and that they find their sense of belonging and community while being there, just like I did. I would not have it any other way.