Finding People

From H2Hwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

You want to invite someone for Shabbat dinner, or you just want to branch out and meet Jewish students outside of your Jewish circles - but how do you do that? How do you find them? Each campus is different and each person is unique, but here are some tips and guidelines we at Heart to Heart have been accumulating. Below are 7 categories/strategys - some of it is how to find new people, some of it is realizing and approaching people you already know who are Jewish, etc. Feel free to study and use them (without being too creepy..) as well as add to this list with your own ideas/experiences!


[edit] Hillel, Chabad, Kosher caf

If they're at Hillel / Chabad / Kosher caf, they're probably Jewish. If they're not regulars in the community, they're either there with friends or they came to try it out, find out more, and meet new people. Fine, maybe they're a little socially awkward, maybe they're waiting for someone else - but odds are they just don't know anyone, and are waiting for YOU to go over and talk to them!

Keeping in mind that the goal is to help people find their place in Judaism and the Jewish community, here are some steps you can take:

1. Scan the room and see who:

  • Doesn't look familiar, or looks sort-of lost
  • Is sitting/standing alone
    • 99% of the time, people sitting by themselves in a dinig hall don't want to be sitting alone, they just don't know anyone else.
    • Even if they're reading a newspaper, that's probably just an excuse...
    • While still possible, it's harder to go over and talk to a whole group of strangers.

2. Go over and say "Hey". Then you can start with:

  • "Are you sitting with someone?"
  • "Are you new here?"
    • But be sure before you do that - it'd be bad if they in fact were regulars, just in a different circle/denomination

3. Comment about something that can lead to a connection - between you and them, or between them and Judaism

  • something about the setting/building - could lead to a discussion about coming to Hillel/Chabad/KC
  • something about the food - could lead to a discussion about and eating kosher
  • something about the period in school: midterms, finals, internship-hunting - that could turn into a discussion of finals leading to stress leading to the benfits of taking a break on Shabbat :)
  • something about a campus event/speaker/occurence

4. Especially on Passover - tons of Jews who never do anything Jewish and don't keep kosher will suddenly show up to Hillel/Chabad to eat kosher for Passover all 7 days! Why or how this started beats me, but like clockwork it happens every year. So this is an especially important time to find the people who look new, or are wearing "Jew-for-a-day" kippahs, etc. Maybe going over to sit with someone and befriending them could actually be the opportunity they were looking for. As one such person told me "No one ever came up to me and spoke with me. Though I always had wished they would have. I imagine it was one of the handful of hours during the year that anyone looking to reintroduce me to Judaism might have been successful..."

[edit] Random people, random places

Okay, so not all uninvolved Jews are just going to walk into Hillel and wait for you. But they're out there: in dining halls, in the Starbucks, at parties, at academic/athletic events, in class, walking around campus - you just have to keep your eyes, ears, and heart open :) Fine, but how do you identify and find a random Jew in a random place?

  • Someone wearing a Magen David or Chai necklace. Or a IDF shirt. Or something from birthright.
  • They might come up to you, because you're wearing an IDF shirt, a kippah, Israeli writing, etc. Or carrying something Jewish - e.g. lulav, menorah
  • Mezuzah on a door - dead giveaway
  • Their name - not conclusive (and even if it is an exclusively Jewish name, maybe only their father's Jewish...) but some clues are if it's:
    • Israeli (Tal, Adar, Shachar, Anat)
    • Jewish first name (Chaim, Beryl, Leah)
    • Jewish last name - (Levine, Cohen, -stein, -berg)
  • Through Facebook - you can check for their
    • religion
    • schools
    • pics in Israel
    • groups about Judaism/Israel
    • friends / mutual friends who are Jewish

Once you've found out if they're Jewish, just talk with them. "Hey, you went to Israel? Me too!" or "Hey, you're also Jewish? Are you also going home for Passover?" See #Hillel.2C_Chabad.2C_Kosher_caf for some other suggestions

[edit] Class, hall, club

These are people you probably know, spend some time with, but might not be so close with. But you have some sort of relationship, and it shouldn't be too hard to pursue that relationship - like maybe inviting them to a Shabbat dinner. Maybe even invite the whole hall/class/club (if it's small)! If you don't know whether they are Jewish, you can

  • Drop hints around Jewish holidays ("Are any of you going to be missing class for Yom Kippur?")
  • Pick up hints around Jewish holidays ("I have to miss class next week to go home for some 'thing'")
  • Or any of the tips from #Random_people.2C_random_places

[edit] Friend, fraternity/sorority borther/sister, lab partner, roommate

These are people you know, spend a lot of time with, and are probably friends with. So you probably know if they're Jewish. If they are, and they're under/uninvolved, try and find out why - they probably would want to talk about it, especially with a friend like you. Don't make them feel guilty, or less-valuable, or self-conscious, just talk to them as a friend. Which you are. Or just invite them to something you think will interest them. Like a Shabbat dinner :)

[edit] Tabling

See the wiki page on Tabling, which has many details and tips!

[edit] Mutual friends

  • Josh came to your meal and had a great time. Josh's good friend is Sally, and Josh thinks she'd also enjoy it and would want to come. Next time, have Josh bring Sally :)
  • Networks: Your friends probably have friends. And groups of friends. College/life is all a series of networks, and tapping into people and the networks and groups they're part of is a great way to reach even more people. Examples could be: majors, clubs, residential programs, fraternities, classes, etc.

[edit] Alumni lists

Find (or ask Hart for) lists of alumni who are at your school - from NCSY, from summer campus, from High Schools, from Israel programs, etc. But don't assume too much about people on those lists - some are probably Jewishly involved, some might have grown up very involved but dropped it in college, and some might never have been involved but randomly ended up on the list. Run through the list and see:

  • If they actually are students in your college
  • Are they Jewishly involved? Maybe rank it (on paper, or in your mind) between 0-5, 0 being never seen them and 5 being core Hillel or Chabad members (if you're not sure, you can prob check some of that by seeing how many/which mutual friends you have on facebook)
  • Follow-up steps, if necessary - that could be to personally invite them to Hillel or Chabad for a Shabbat meal, or make a H2H Shabbat dinner and invite them, or invite them to a social or education event (Mishmar, SNL, Casino night), or whatever other tricks you got up your sleeves :) But they could be good people to reach out to, and/or to join the community, and a personal invite/relationship is probably the best good tool for that!
    • And it doesn't have to be you following-up with them - you can get other people to, perhaps even preferable to find someone who knows them already (via mutual facebook friends).
Personal tools