If You Date Someone From Hillel…

A wholly subjective (though carefully considered and quite in-the-know) guide to getting through freshman year of college. OK, so you’re on your own, but remember to call home.

1. The definition of apartheid and why Israel doesn’t fit its profile.

2.  The times of all the Shabbat dinner options — find out which has the best food.

3.  A close knowledge of “Fiddler on the Roof” to contextualize yourself to non-Jews.

4.  How to get a kipa with your college’s name on it.

5.  The words to “Candlelight” or “The Chanukah Song.” Your choice.

6.  At least 10 attractive Jewish celebrities: i.e., Natalie Portman, Daniel Radcliffe, James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, etc.

7. That Hillel welcome event food will be everywhere — it’s responsible for about 60 percent of a Jewish student’s “freshman fifteen.”

8. Just because you’re at college doesn’t mean she’s not a Jewish mother anymore. Call home.

9. The ability to explain common Jewish practices to the uninformed or at least the ability to make up a good answer on the spot.

10. At least one Jewish athlete in every major sport — get obscure too — Jewish athletes include skateboarder Alan Gelfland (he invented the Ollie) and champion thumb wrestler Mindy Glatt.

11. How and when to sign up for Birthright Israel. www.birthrightisrael.com

12. All of the Jews on “Glee” — actors and characters alike.

13. All of Alan Dershowitz’s arguments by heart.

14. Most students don’t know anything about Israel at ALL — and they’re curious to learn both sides of the issue.

15. If you date someone from Hillel, everyone will know about it.  Forever.

16. “Cool” Jewish laws to impress your gentile friends (i.e., “Double Mitzvah”). If you don’t know that one, look it up on Wikipedia.

17. Well-meaning friends will make jokes about the Jewish media conspiracy. Retaliate by canceling their favorite TV shows.

18. Jewish superheroes and villains — i.e., Magento and Shadowcat — in case Mindy Glatt wasn’t impressive enough.

19. Criticizing Israel doesn’t make you anti-Israel, but be sure to make it clear you support Israel’s right to exist.

20. No one will care how stressful your bar or bat mitzvah was.

21. The results of the Six-Day War and ensuing border disputes — being more informed is 90 percent of the battle.

22. AEPi is not the be-all, end-all in Jewish life. Tread carefully.

23. You may be the first Jew some classmates ever meet, and will permanently influence their perceptions of Jews. No pressure.

24. No one is checking on you to make sure you’re living Jewishly — for the first time you can decide how you want to live religiously and culturally. Just remember there are lots of Jewish communities on campus offering their support.

25. You’re in college! Be sure to have fun within Hillel and without.

author's bio: 
Gabriella Geselowitz is a junior in the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in Manhattan and a former Fresh Ink writer.