The Foundation for
Jewish Campus Life

Humans of Hillel

 

Leaving home for college helped me realize I could be Jewish and Chinese.

Lawrence, Kansas | 2020

Jade 3“My dad is Jewish, and my mom is Chinese. Growing up, I noticed I was different from others in Boulder, Colorado. There wasn’t anyone like me walking down the street, sitting in classrooms, eating at restaurants or attending synagogue. Everyone was white. So, I thought it would be so much easier to embrace my whiteness and Jewishness, burying my Chinese heritage. That part of my identity wasn’t important to me anyway — at least that’s what I told myself. Leaving home to study at the University of Kansas helped me realize I could be Jewish and Chinese. My campus had the most diversity I’d ever seen, which is surprising because it’s predominantly white. This was the first time I was able to connect with people who were interested in learning about all of me, not just parts of me. At KU Hillel, the staff listened to my story, worked to increase diversity in our spaces and encouraged me to incorporate my passion for social justice into Hillel programs. They pushed me to become a leader inside and outside of the Jewish community, and ultimately, helped me realize my Chinese identity has been and will always be an important part of who I am. I have come so far, but my journey to accepting and valuing my dual identities isn’t over. I don’t think there will ever come a time when I stop working to fully embrace my Jewish and Chinese heritage. This is something I’ll always be working on, and I hope to help more Jewish spaces engage in that work.” — Jade Groobman, University of Kansas