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€

Do you work, volunteer, or are in some way involved with the East Bay Jewish community? We want to tell your story! Click here to reach out to be profiled for our “Day in the Life” series โ€” and in turn, get your organization’s word out to ourย community. Don’t delay!

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