The Foundation for
Jewish Campus Life

Humans of Hillel

 

I decided to educate the student who ripped my mezuzah off my doorpost.

East Lansing, Michigan | 2020

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“When I was moving into my apartment at Michigan State University, someone said to me, ‘Do you have to hang up your mezuzah? Do you need to tell the entire world your Jewish?’ I said, ‘Yes, of course.’ Putting a mezuzah on my doorpost was the first step in making my new apartment feel like home. A few weeks later, it was stolen. I had no idea what to do. When I learned a student who lived nearby was responsible, I thought about a phrase my 86-year-old grandfather always says when he tells his story of survival during the Holocaust, ‘You can’t be a bystander.’ Now, it was my turn to serve as an educator. I organized a meeting with me, him, Nate Strauss of MSU Hillel and Rabbi Benzion Shemtov of MSU Chabad. I wanted him to realize his actions impacted an entire community on campus, not just one student. During our meeting, I asked if he would take a guided tour of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Michigan and write a reflection paper about what he learned. He agreed and toured the museum a few weeks later. I truly hope he realized the carelessness and hurtfulness of his actions. I have since hung another mezuzah to proudly display my Judaism. This incident wasn’t going to make me live in fear.” — Maddy Gun, Michigan State University