In the Spotlight – Boaz #16

Community means people and stories. The dynamics of diversity are an essential part. Chabad on Campus spotlights every week another member of the community with each their own story and vision.

I was born in Jerusalem and lived there for over 20 years of my life. I have had the privilege of growing up in such an amazing country, although it did not come without its hurdles. For me, Israel is a place of incredible people, a place of both controversy and harmony. A country that is growing so fast that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest developments. However, one thing will always remain: the lively and warm feeling I encounter on every return visit.

I have a background in Environmental Sciences and am in the process of completing my master’s degree in Sustainability. My passion lies in helping people find a better path, where more people can thrive. Entrepreneurship and advising with regard to this passion is certainly where I want to go.

I am coming from a very secular Jewish-French background family. They taught me that Judaism can be interpreted individually. There is no “one” way of believing it. When we are at home, we always do the Sabbath together: we light candles and sing songs, eat incredible food and ask about each other’s well-being. The same goes for the holidays.

This motive comes more from a bond with our family than from a religious necessity. I also cherish this practice with friends and loved ones, no matter how far from home we are.

Studying in the Netherlands was a real pleasure because of the variety of thoughts and people from all over the world who participated in my study program. Although I studied in covid-times, the dark days shine a little brighter when surrounded by wonderful people, whom I am very grateful to have met!

boaz spotlight

I have always enjoyed travelling the world. Perhaps one of the most defining trips for me was backpacking through South and Central America. Perhaps one of the best things about this trip was getting together on Shabbat dinners and holidays in the Chabads in the different countries. It was always such a wonderful homey feeling that makes you appreciate your sense of community even in the most remote places.

To me, Chabad On Campus is a community center with the aim of bringing together diverse Jews of all backgrounds and ages to find common ground. With both revelry and solidarity, I recognize that Chabad brings out the differences and similarities among its members to act as a source of strength to be embraced.

Jan van Brakel
Content Creator & Youth Worker at Chabad On Campus NL

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