A Semester in Perspective

It’s been a pretty eventful semester if I do say so myself. From the first day of classes to today, my “final final” as I call it, I’ve jam-packed my schedule to fit in as many extracurricular activities as possible. In this blog I want to concentrate on areas that I have not really focused on in the past.

One such example of a previously non-mentioned topic is my involvement with Queens College Hillel. I wouldn’t consider myself a KOACHQC Hillelreligious Jew of any sort – I haven’t been to temple in ages, and until coming to college, my family had stopped holding Shabbat on a regular basis. And, prior to actually beginning my studies at QC my impression was that Hillel was an overall Orthodox bunch of students, I really had no desire to be involved. The funny thing is, though, that apparently the Orthodox Jewish population on campus is only 1/4 of the entire Jewish population! Anyway, my involvement all changed when I found out about a small grassroots, progressive Jewish movement taking form with the leadership of Alyssa Blumenthal – I would call her a mentor of mine. With her help, I was introduced not only to progressive Judaism, but also Orthodoxy. All of the Shabbat dinners that I have attended since beginning my college career, have an orthodox, or what I would call a “stricter,” component than I’m used to such as a d’var Torah (or an explanation of the latest section of the Torah). Through programs such as i-Engage, Evolving Judaism, Jews for Funsies, KOACH, and individually run events, I’ve found an appreciation for my own Jewish ideals and values, but also am coming to better understand the customs of others. As the semester comes to an end, I am taking on more of a leadership role in the progressive movement – that is, KOACH. As Alyssa packs her bags for a semester in Prague, I will be here to hold the fort, to organize programs iEngageand to reach out to other non-religious or secular Jews like myself who find they want something more out of their religion. My family now proudly and happily proclaim, “When did Marina become the Jew of the family?” Everyone goes through their phases when he or she is younger – prime example, my siblings. What’s the point of religion? Why should I go to temple? It took college to teach me that religion is personal and I can decide what I want to include and choose to do and what I can leave out. And just as a side note, I definitely did write about Hillel just now because I came back from a great Shabbat dinner (just saying)!

Another recent event that I haven’t mentioned is my tentative, but highly likely, involvement with Jue Loffelholz‘s latest project. IJue Loffelholz will not disclose the details here, but it is really exciting to be asked to participate in an experimental art/poetry project. So, thank you Jue for inviting me!

Lastly, I would just like to show my appreciation to Macaulay for such a great opportunity, not only in terms of my education, but for all the great experiences that I am being exposed to. I think this blog has been a complete success! In only one semester, I’ve written 41 posts, customized my site, and recently just added a subscription option.

I cannot WAIT for what next semester has in store for me! But let’s not forget, I still have a winter session to get through. That being said, just because I’ll have class five days a week doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to seek out cultural activities. You haven’t seen the last of me yet!

Macaulay Honors College


Marina B. Nebro

Posted: December 22nd, 2012
Categories: Museums & Culture
Comments: 1 Comment.
Pingback from Looking Back at Freshman Year - May 28, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Can you believe it’s been a whole year? If you’re interested in how I continued my studies, read this blog post!
Marina B. Nebro