Nicole Ruza, pictured left, poses for a group selfie with other members of the MSU Hillel Chavurah #Blessed course.
Nicole Ruza, pictured left, poses for a group selfie with other members of the MSU Hillel Chavurah #Blessed course.

Michigan State Hillel’s Chavurah program is an initiative launched in October 2021 to help students develop a better relationship with Jewish learning.

Jewish learning has always been important to me. However, sometimes, I find that Jewish learnings I participate in could use a refresh to be more relevant and exciting. 

This is why I was so drawn toward Michigan State Hillel’s Chavurah program, an initiative launched in October 2021 to help students develop a better relationship with Jewish learning. 

Chavurah, which in Hebrew means a small group of learners, builds upon the success of other paid learning opportunities at Hillel, such as the Jewish and Israel learning fellowships, by offering short courses on interesting topics for college students. Each Chavurah course lasts four weeks, and students receive a stipend upon completion. 

Last semester, I participated in both Chavurah courses that were offered. In the #Blessed: Judaism and Gratitude course, 12 of my peers and I learned about what Judaism has to say about thankfulness and gratitude while also learning from popular culture and more modern sources. I would often leave a session with questions in my head to ponder. 

I also took the Life’s Bigger Questions course that was offered to alumni of Hillel’s Jewish Learning Fellowship. We explored topics such as gossip, relationships and G-d. I would often leave sessions feeling more connected to my Judaism. 

My favorite part of the Chavurah courses was each connection I made with my fellow Jewish Spartans. The Hillel staff educators made each session feel welcoming and warm, allowing us to learn and connect with each other. Not only did I strengthen relationships I had already had, but I also met new people who I now get to see at Hillel Shabbat dinners and other events. 

With the success of Hillel’s Chavurah program in the Fall semester, more courses will be offered this year, and I am very excited to continue to learn and grow as a Jewish person and build a stronger relationship with Jewish learning. 

Nicole Ruza of West Bloomfield is a junior at Michigan State University studying psychology. 

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