This story was originally posted on the Rutgers Hillel blog.
My Darling Rutgers Hillel,
First, let me say that you are looking great these days. Some pictures of you popped up on Facebook, and you looked great at your Gala. Seeing you thrive like that after we parted ways makes me smile.
I know our time is over, but I would be lying if I were to say I don’t think about our time together. You were by my side for my whole college career.
Do you remember the day we met? You were hosting a barbeque, and it seemed the entire Jewish world was there. Remember how I would tease you about inviting every single one of your Facebook friends to events? Well, I still think it’s kind of strange how you invite your past flings. You were always very good at keeping in touch. Anyway, as I got to know you at the barbeque and the multitude of activities you participated in, I understood that there was a reason why every Jew on campus wanted to get involved with you: you knew how to have a good time. You captivated me.
Then, as reality tapped me on the shoulder, I realized that our involvement together would be limited. I lived on the Livingston campus and you lived on College Ave. The distance would prevent anything serious from happening. Also, I was a freshman; you knew everyone and already had way too many friends. What chance did I have?
You asked me what I was doing Thursday night. My heart raced. You wanted to hang out with me? A nobody on campus who just got here? Just when I thought you couldn’t get more attractive. It was a date: Learning Torah and eating pizza.
Our dates continued as I repeatedly trekked from Livingston to College Ave to hang out with you and all you had to offer, because you were always free and ready to do anything. It was worth it every time.
Our friends thought that we had some potential together. They would always talk to me about how nice of a fit we were, hoping that we would take things to the next level. Despite my Livingston campus commute and your fuzzy moving plans, I gave it a shot. I became an Orthodox community freshman representative. We were official.
I could make a killer montage of all of the fun times we shared:
- Celebrating Jewish holidays and heritage
- Showing people how awesome Israel is
- Cooking and eating [any food theme], while [any activity meant for ages 4-16]
- Sweaty dancing on Simchat Torah
- Sweaty praying in air-condition-less rooms
- Washing off all the sweat in your shower
- Lots and lots and lots of board/staff/emergency/a tad too many meetings
- Other things I will chose not to share (there might be freshmen reading this).
We both know that Friday night was the most fun and spent the week looking forward to dining together. Your kind heart always insisted that dinner was on you. Surrounded by friends and food, the ultimate venue to enjoy Shabbat, and it existed because of your giving heart. You never stopped giving.
By senior year we had grown very close. As an Orthodox community co-chair, you became the focus of my time outside of class. You had your difficult moments, but I did my best to help you through a year of uncertainty. A year unlike any I had seen during my time at Rutgers. Sure enough, we made it with high hopes for the future, but I knew that my time with you was waning. I could see you catching the interest of the eyes of the younger students, just as you had charmed me so many years ago. You avoided putting yourself on a pedestal, like you had done for me. Every student had a chance with you regardless of religiousness, age or interests.
It was not jealousy that I felt then, but a of wave excitement that was about to crash, and I would be watching from the sand. I had had my time in your waters, but I was pruny. It was time to get out and dry off. Even expected goodbyes have a way of taking one by surprise.
I'm not saying we should get back together. Moving on is the hardest step to overcome, and moving back is uncomfortable for everyone. I want to let you know that I appreciate all the effort you put into our relationship; it does not go unnoticed. Now, get out there, continue meeting new people and inspire greatness like I know you can. You found it in me after all.
You will be the one I think of most, when I think of my college experience.
Yours from '10 and on,
Avi Sinoff graduated from Rutgers University in 2014.