Parents and Family Weekend - A First-Year Perspective Emily Danzig '16
From the very start of my time at Washington and Lee, Hillel has been a huge part of my experiences. I started going to events to get involved in Jewish campus life and to meet new people. We received a welcome food basket during opening week and that was a pretty good incentive to come check out Hillel as well.
Friday nights at Hillel have definitely now become one of the best parts of my week. Even though I have only been going
to Hillel for about two and a half months, it's already become my Shabbat custom. Just like my family's customs, at Hillel we say the Kiddush, light the Shabbat candles and the blessing over the challah, but with friends rather than my family.
Over Parents and Family Weekend, my two worlds, home and school, fused together and it was exciting to bring my parents into the place and community that I spent my first Shabbats and holidays without them. So much of Jewish life for me and why I continue coming to Hillel on Friday nights is the friendships and bonds we create over lighting candles and enjoying dinner together, and over parents and family weekend, I got to share that bond with my parents and new friends all together.
Friday night, I wasn't sure what to expect when I brought my parents, but so many other Hillel students had come with their parents too; it was the largest turnout ever for Hillel services and dinner! Even though there were so many people I had never met, it was truly wonderful to see such a large and spirited community come together for Shabbat. Everyone joined in on the service, especially singing, which was my favorite part because I really got to show my parents the kind of Jewish connections that Hillel fosters.
In some ways it was strange, having a Shabbat with my family away from my home, without all of our normal little things that make up a Danzig Family Shabbos. Even though my dogs weren't running around our legs when we lit candles and we didn't eat one of my mom's classic Friday night dinners, sharing my W&L Hillel Shabbat with my parents made me feel truly at home.
After sharing the whole weekend with my parents, we went to the Sunday morning bagel brunch together. Once again, my parents and me, other Hillel students, and their parents sat together, talked about Washington and Lee and Hillel (and of course playing Jewish Geography). I loved having my parents here on campus to see everything, and I know Hillel was a family favorite for the weekend for all of us.