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KAHAL is excited to launch a new student blog, which will become a regular feature on our
website. These first five posts feature snippets of many students’ abroad experiences and
highlight the themes the blog will explore: Shabbat and holidays, Jewish life and communities
abroad, and the impact of study abroad on students’ Jewish identities. Click here to see the other
opening blog posts, and check back often to see our Student Spotlights and future blog posts
highlighting individual students’ stories. Interested in being featured on the blog? Email Sadie@KahalAbroad.org
"I really enjoyed FND (London-wide student Friday night dinners) where it was possible to meet and connect with so many different types of students across London. Each FND was held in a different synagogue, and that also gave me the chance to feel comfortable going there for services and participating in other events they ran. It was a really meaningful experience planning events ourselves and working to create a little Jewish community in London together. I learned a lot about myself and my own Jewish identity through planning events and having less of a community infrastructure. I was able to realize just how powerful communities are in calling community members to action and reaching their own potentials.
Outside of London, I visited many other Jewish communities while I was traveling. My Shabbat experiences were my favorite during a weekend away and really helped ground my travels. Meeting so many different people who knew the same tunes I did so many thousands of miles away was moving. "
NYU (London, England)
Jewish life and communities abroad
Students abroad have the privilege of exploring some of the most exciting and dynamic Jewish communities and opportunities in the world. These experiences build a lifelong connection between students and the global Jewish people.
"When I arrived in London for my semester abroad, I didn't know a single person… Almost immediately, KAHAL reached out and connected me with several others also studying abroad. In addition, I was invited to a number of events in the London Jewish community that served as a highly valuable component of my overall experience abroad. It became clear that Jews in London were not all that different from those I knew in Wisconsin and Minnesota; I was immediately welcomed and my concerns disappeared. Far and above all else, however, I am extremely grateful for KAHAL's encouragement to sign up for the March of the Living trip, easily the most meaningful Jewish experience I had while abroad, and really… ever… Through this, I learned that the most important component of my Jewish identity is the community that surrounds me, regardless of how they spell “color” or what they believe to be the last letter of the alphabet. I owe all of this to KAHAL and the incredibly talented March of the Living UK team."
University of Wisconsin (London, England)
"Celebrating Shabbat while abroad is one of the easiest ways for students to start feeling at home when they’re so far away. Singing the same songs, eating the same foods, and taking part in the same rituals instantly forges a connection between students and their new communities. Whether they’re joining in with the local community or hosting their own meal using a KAHAL micro-grant, Shabbat abroad is always a highlight.
In addition to Shabbat in Prague, I also had the amazing chance to experience Shabbat in seven other cities in Europe as well, where I prayed in ancient synagogues and ate with local families. I was comforted as I encountered similar aspects of my Jewish experience also present in these cities, such as prayers, songs, and foods that I was accustomed to from home, as well as the values of hospitality and love of a fellow Jew that I was finally able to see first-hand are actually universal!"
NYU (Prague, Czech Republic)
"While abroad students discover more than just thier host culture. Away from their support structure and community, students must choose which values and traditions they hold most dear. KAHAL helps students find meaning in their time abroad within the welcoming arms of the global Jewish community.
"While I was abroad, I got a better sense of what Jewish values are most important to me. Outside of the comfort of my home and placed into new situations, I really got a sense of who I am and what values I will and won’t compromise on."
Barnard College (Herzliya, Israel)
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