A Day in the Life of: A Jewish UC Berkeley Student ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿผโ€๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿซ

 In Building, Engaging

If all the headlines coming out of college campuses are to be believed, youโ€™d be forgiven for thinking that the first thing UC Berkeley Junior Shira Klasky-Gamer thinks when she wakes up is โ€œOh man, what am I going to do to protect myself from all the anti-Semites lurking in the shadows to attack me? Iโ€™d better not wear my Magen David necklace today.โ€

However, according to Shira, this is absolutely not the case. โ€œI get this question all the time,โ€ she tells us, with a hint of exasperation in her voice.

โ€œMy name is literally Shira, like in Hebrew,โ€ she continues.โ€ โ€œI look pretty Jewish. I used to wear a Jewish Star on my neck, every day before it broke. I wear rings with Hebrew on them. I have on my computer โ€”which I use in every class โ€” my โ€œGo Bearsโ€ sticker in Hebrew, and my Hillel stickers. I have JCC stickers. Iโ€™m obviously a pro-Israel Jewish student and I have never, not once, felt unsafe on campus.โ€

โ€œBut,โ€ she concludes, โ€œIf I ever were to feel unsafe, I know that Berkeley Hillel and the Hillel community is there for me.โ€ Then, she quickly changes the subject to one she greatly prefers talking about: โ€œJewish life, the Jewish community, is thriving on campus.โ€

Instead, the first thing on Shiraโ€™s mind every morning, whether sheโ€™s making breakfast or out for a run, is how to plug more Jewish students into Jewish life. Whether itโ€™s co-chairing a social justice book club or โ€œbagelingโ€ (โ€œ[Not] a real word, Iโ€™ve learned, but Iโ€™ve made it into one; a verb!โ€), where she picks up picnic blankets and bagels from Noahโ€™s, brings them to the world glade in the middle of campus, and schmoozes with 15-20 students every Monday.

Then there is class, of course. Though Shira, a legal studies major, enjoys class immensely, most of her waking hours โ€” and almost all of her time outside of class โ€” is spent with Hillel, both as a student volunteer and as an intern.

โ€œI grew up in a very strong Jewish community in Los Angeles, so I always wanted to be involved in Hillel,โ€ she tells us. โ€œIt was one of the first places I went when I got to campus, if not the first. Now, every day of the week, I do something with Hillel.โ€

When asked what the future might hold for her, she didnโ€™t know much about what her life post-graduation would look like, but in the meantime, sheโ€™s got work to do and is motivated to complete it.

โ€œIโ€™m not graduating. I still have time to make an impact here, shape this community, and bring other people into this space thatโ€™s really become my home on campus.โ€

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