Although Tufts is a nondenominational school, many students do participate in some kind of religious or spiritual life here. We have 8 different chaplains who are all highly trained to provide support in various areas of religious worship. Tufts has a diverse range of religious organizations such as the Hindu Student Council and the Protestant Student Association. We also have a pre-orientation called CAFE (Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education), which brings together students from many different religious and cultural backgrounds to discuss religion, social justice, and advocacy. I, myself, am not religious, but I do occasionally participate in some of the Jewish life here, and this past weekend, I got the opportunity to attend two very cool events!
On Thursday night, Hillel, an international Jewish campus organization, held their annual formal at American Flatbread in Davis Square. American Flatbread serves flatbread pizzas and also operates as a bowling alley, which made it an especially fun venue for the formal. The event was open to all students, and I was invited by some friends (featured above!) who were going. I never miss a dress-up occasion, so I was super happy to get the chance to get fancy for a night!
On Friday, I went to an annual event held by Tufts Chabad called Shabbat 200. Traditionally, this is a huge dinner with 200 students in one of our large multipurpose rooms on campus. Each table has 10 people who are invited by a host, who tends to be someone who is involved with the Jewish community. My friends Hannah and Naomi co-hosted a table and invited our friends to join them for the meal.
The plans changed a bit when Tufts closed campus for a huge snowstorm. Luckily, Chabad is very flexible, and they were able to move the dinner to the Chabad house. They spread the tables out over multiple levels, using many rooms in the house. It was so nice to join together with my friends and eat yummy food, like challah, butternut squash pie, and chocolate mousse. (I promise I ate real food too.)
There was also a bit of a religious component, and we were led in a few short prayer songs before we ate. While I was not brought up Jewish, my dad and his family were, so I always find it really interesting to get a glance into Judaism. The rabbi educated us on why we celebrate the sabbath, the Jewish day of rest that spans from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and I enjoyed learning more about my family’s heritage.
Regardless of your religious affiliation, the whole Chabad house family is very welcoming–In fact, the rabbi’s wife actually remembers everyone’s names, even if they have only come to the house once! My Emma’s advice for you is to keep an open mind about religious opportunities in college. I was worried that these events were only for religiously Jewish students, but there were many non-Jewish students at both, and they were really fun ways to meet new people, eat free food, and learn something new!