The Center for Jewish Life will always be a special place to us. After all, it's where we met. It’s also where we formed lasting friendships and broadened our understanding, appreciation and practice of Judaism.
What also makes the CJL special is the vibrancy and diversity of its student groups, drawing across the spectrum of denominations and interests. It's a student-driven community, supported by world class rabbinic, educational and programming staff.
We came into the CJL with different backgrounds but both felt completely comfortable from the outset. Ari hailed from a Modern Orthodox upbringing in Long Island. He took all of his kosher meals at the CJL and prayed daily with the Yavneh Minyan. Netti grew up culturally Jewish on a different island: Taiwan. Having lost her beloved father shortly before college, she sought solace and meaning in the rituals of saying Kaddish and honoring his heritage. The first person she met at the CJL was Rabbi David Leipziger, who welcomed her with warmth and compassion. Her commitment to Judaism deepened throughout her freshman year, culminating in a Birthright Israel trip. With friends in different denominations, Netti participated in a variety of prayer groups, classes and social activities before finding her niche with Yavneh.
Our CJL experiences were shared by many of our friends. Students were able to practice Judaism with other students who shared similar observances or beliefs; at the same time, differences were respected and celebrated, with everybody coming together on Friday nights to share in a beautiful, communal Shabbat dinner.
Our experiences at Princeton would not have been the same without the CJL. Today, we are proud to be CJL Honorary Trustees and want to ensure that future generations of Jewish students at Princeton have the same opportunities that we had.