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Religious Life: cultural and religious identity

An Interview with Mia Terkowitz '11

Mia Terkowitz

To which organization do you belong? How long have you been involved?

I am a member of Hillel. I have been involved with this organization since my first year.

What motivated you to join?

Smith's Hillel was a huge factor in my decision to attend Smith. I knew Hillel would provide me with a way to celebrate Jewish holidays with a diverse community. What attracted me to Smith was how it empowers women to be leaders. I think this aspect of Smith is especially strong at Hillel.

What role do you think spirituality should play on Smith’s campus?

I think that spirituality plays an important role in personal happiness and well-being. I derive spirituality from the cultural and communal aspects of Judaism. I believe that spirituality on campus should provide a way for students to appreciate their own identities as well as those of other students.

What distinguishes Smith from other spiritual communities you have belonged to or observed?

The Smith Hillel community is unique because it consists of college-age women from diverse backgrounds. As a student organization, Smith Hillel not only has religious and cultural events, but social events as well. Smith Hillel provides women with a unique opportunity to become leaders and to determine how to incorporate Judaism into their lives.

Have you had any funny, bizarre, or amazing experiences with your organization?

Attending the annual Hanukkah party is the most amazing experience I have had at Smith. Despite the falling temperatures and the proximity to finals, the party is well attended. I love listening to the lively Klezmer music and seeing so many people having the time of their lives.

What have you learned about yourself and your spirituality at Smith?

I have learned how to maintain my cultural and religious identity away from home. My years at Smith have increased my love of and appreciation for Judaism.

If you had to sum up your spiritual experience here in 5 words or less, what would they be?

Smith Hillel is fantastic!