Penn State University

A testimonial of a student on the JSF program.

Bonnie Herman

I didn’t grow up identifying as Jewish, but that changed as I began to learn what it really meant to be a Jew. After studying on my own, I realized that my spiritual quest wasn’t going to end anytime soon. I’d been learning for about eight months, but with work and university courses to deal with at the same time, I was not able to give Judaism my full attention. Ivy League, however, looked like I could get just that: an in-depth chance to study Judaism without the worries and distractions of college life. The stipend was what could make it all possible, so when I found out about it, I rushed to apply. I came to the Catskills with an open mind, and left with a dozen sisters and broader definition of what it means to be Jewish. We learned a staggering amount of material in a comparatively minute amount of time; our days, nights and weekends were jam packed. But we didn’t just learn. We laughed, cried, sang, shared, and bonded so fully, so fast. From the day trips to the Shabbos tables, everything affected me. The environment was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the extra-curricular activities …

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