Friday, December 16, 2011

Favorite student organization: Macalester Jewish Organization

Extracurricular activities are one of my favorite parts of college life. They allow me to take a break from homework and do the things that I love, from writing to acting to going on adventures.

The beauty of student organizations (which everyone refers to as "orgs") at Macalester is twofold:

1. The time commitment is whatever you make of it, since, for the most part, you can choose how often to go to meetings.

2. You can join a bunch of different clubs without being overwhelmed, since most orgs only meet one night a week. (Though there are exceptions such as Mac Players , the acting club on campus, or acapella groups that require rehearsals).

As someone who likes having my schedule pretty full, I’ve joined quite a few orgs on campus, but my favorite one would have to be MJO, or Macalester Jewish Organization.

Throughout high school I was part of a Jewish youth group, so I knew I wanted to join the Jewish org on campus when I came to Macalester. And I couldn’t be happier that I did. For me, one of the things that I miss most about home is spending Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner with my family, and MJO has sort of made up for that homesickness. We have Shabbat dinner and services every other Friday night, during which we get to come together to recognize the end of the week and to eat delicious food cooked by our very own MJO members.

Plus, MJO meets every Tuesday at 9 pm, so I get to spend time with people to both talk about or do activities related to Judaism, and to just hang out. In meetings, we’ll do anything from learn basic Yiddish vocabulary to discuss themes pertaining to an upcoming holiday, and it’s nice to be able to celebrate my faith in a comfortable and casual environment.

Meetings also always consist of “highs and lows,” during which everyone shares a positive and negative thing from their week, and the eating of babka, which is always great. Highs and lows are probably my favorite part of MJO meetings. Even when I’ve had a particularly hard test or stressful afternoon, thinking about highs and lows usually makes me smile at the thought of some of the better things in my week. And of course, hearing everyone else’s highs and lows is always fun, since we usually end up laughing about shared experiences or going on tangents about a class, a weekend, etc.

Being a part of MJO has allowed to me to both relax and to think deeply, to connect with new people and to stay connected to my family back home. Every Tuesday, I am always counting down to 9:00 pm.

- Heather Renetzky '15