“To me, being Jewish means everything. To be Jewish is to have received a higher calling guiding me to dedicate my life to serving the globe’s neglected communities. To be Jewish means I face struggles and adversity with a smile on my face because I know my ancestors have given me the strength to overcome them and make a difference in our world. To be Jewish means to have a family of fifteen million sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers who I would do anything for. Most challengingly, being Jewish means there are people who have animosities against me without knowing me; yet to be a Jew means I'm obligated to seek justice, prosperity, and peace for them and their families as fervently as for my own. For me, being lucky enough to be a Jew means my life's purpose is to heal the world, one action at a time.
“I was raised in a fragmented family and routinely cycled through living with my father and my grandparents. We frequently moved to pursue economic opportunities, first in Nevada and then in Texas. I never knew where the perseverance inherent to being a Patrick came from until my grandmother and I explored our ancestry. We found that our familial lines have been splintered since 1904 when my great-grandfather was sent by his parents to the United States from Austria to live out his life as a non-Jew. His story motivated me to embrace my heritage and officially convert.
“My great-grandfather Robert’s assimilating to survive resonated with his great-grandson who was trying to find his place in this world - and is the only reason I have the life I have today. To me, being Jewish is to remember those who lived, struggled, and were persecuted before us. Unequivocally, to be Jewish is to use the pain of our past to paint a brighter picture of our future for everyone - Jew and non-Jew.” — Dylan Patrick, University of Nebraska - Lincoln ‘22
Dylan Patrick is a recipient of the 2021 Hillel International Campus Leadership Award. Learn more about Hillel scholarships for Jewish students by visiting hillel.org/scholarships.