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life’s big questions: or, jewish adulting 101

You're in college. So, you're an adult now, right? Feel like you should have all the answers? This 10-week conversational fellowship brings together a group of students trying to figure out how to be adults, and what place Jewishness has in all this. We'll ask and answer questions like, How do I make friends? What can I expect in a sexual relationship? How can I cope with conflict? What do I actually believe in? As in, Who do I want to become? Recommended for first-year students; open to all undergraduates.

seminars takes place on tuesdays 6:30 - 8:00 pm and thursdays 6:15 - 7:45 pm


week 1: who tells your story? 

In what way does personal history become collective history? Can history “make a claim” on us? What is your story?

week 2: can home be temporary?

What is the difference between being at home and having a home in the world? Where do you feel most at home? How do you define home at various stages in your life? Is it important to have a home? What opportunities for personal growth do we encounter when we embrace vulnerability and impermanence as a natural part of life?

week 3: how big is our tent? 

Why do we create community? And why Jewish community? Why and how do we choose to be a part of it? What is the difference between a community, a group of friends and a social network? What makes a community a community?

week 4: would they really say that if they were your friend? 

What are the challenges and opportunities of a deep friendship? What are necessary qualities in a good friend and what qualities do you want to emulate as a good friend?  What are the disqualifying qualities in a good friend? What role does honesty play in friendship?

week 5:  the anti-fomo (a.k.a. shabbat)? 

How might we interact with the idea of a Sabbath as college students? Is Shabbat, as a time of rest, inherently counter-cultural? Or could it support us holistically in our modern lifestyles and pursuits? How can the essence of Shabbat help us create a “rest practice” in our modern lives?

week 6: why do bad things happen to good people?

We can each think of good folks who suffer (illness, natural disaster, violence). Sometimes it’s a challenge to find an explanation, a sense of justice, in all we see around us. Together we’ll tackle a question as old as humanity: Why do bad things happen to good people

week 7: are you there, g-d, it’s me, margaret

Do I have to believe in G-d to be Jewish? What does it mean to be “spiritual”? What can the idea of faith and divinity offer a contemporary college student like me?

week 8: the thanksgiving table dilemma

How do we disagree and engage in conflict? Can conflict be productive? What is the role of healthy vs. unhealthy disagreement and how do we engage in it rather than withdraw from it? Can disagreement serve as a critical part of uncovering truth?

week 9: is it time to dtr? 

What is the status of our current relationship to sexual relationships and intimacy? As college students, what prevents us from allowing ourselves intimacy and vulnerability with another person? By learning the traditional wisdom of our Jewish sources, might we be inspired to approach our romantic relationships with a new lens that fuses our contemporary lives with traditional wisdom around intimate relationships?

week 10: infrequently asked questions & saying goodbye

What are the questions you’ve never had a chance to ask? How do we say goodbye to one another in a way that honors the time we have spent together?


jlf team

  • Rabbi Nikki DeBlosi

  • Dana Levinson Steiner

  • Omer Hit

  • Talia Gnessin

  • Daniel Atwood