My first experience with Hillel was freshman year when I went to my first Shabbat. I didn’t know many people, but everyone who was there was so warm and welcoming to me. I instantly felt like I was part of a community. When I first came to college, I knew that I wanted to become involved with Hillel. I was highly involved in USY (United Synagogue Youth, a conservative youth organization) in high school and I was looking for a Jewish community just like that in college, and I found UD Hillel.
At UD Hillel, a typical Friday night consists of a number of Jewish students, and even some non-Jewish students, getting together for Shabbat. We start the night by lighting candles to signify the community gathering. Candle lighting provides a moment when students can take the time to reflect on the week and relax from the stress of school. Afterward, most weeks, there are two services that are offered: reform and conservative. Split between the two, it is a small and intimate group of people who come together to pray. Following services, the two groups come together for dinner. Shabbat dinner is a time for these students to hang out with their friends and bond with each other over the meal. Moreso, it becomes a great opportunity to meet new people; everyone at Hillel is there for the same reason.
I strongly encourage all Jewish students to experience Hillel by coming for a dinner or two, because the small close-knit community here at Delaware is very hard to find in other places. I always feel very comfortable because everyone in Hillel is so accepting and inviting to everyone who stops by.
Sarah Dickstein is a junior at the University of Delaware. Her major is Early Childhood Education with a Disabilities Studies Minor. She is originally from Olney, Maryland. Sarah has served on the KOACH board for 2 and a half years now. She served as the Freshman representative, the communications chair, vice president and now currently serving as the President.