Reaching out for faith

By The Beacon | September 12, 2012 9:00pm

The Jewish Student Group reaches out to those who wish to grow in their faith

Junior Lauren Klafter founded UP’s Jewish Student Group during her freshman year. (Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON)

By Lydia Laythe, Staff Writer

There are plenty of activities to join on campus, but there's one a lot of people don't know about: The Jewish Student Group.

Junior Lauren Klafter, the leader of the Jewish Student Group on campus, started the religious group as a freshman because none existed.

"Before I had even decided to come to UP, I had called and asked if there were any Jewish students on campus or if there was any organization or something," Klafter said. "When I came to school people knew that I was interested in [continuing my faith] and that I wanted to start something on campus."

Klafter was eager to continue her faith practice once on campus.

"[The Jewish faculty] reached out to me and one of the English professors took me with them to the services during the high holidays and things like that," Klafter said.

Along with help from UP faculty, Klafter has also received support from Campus Ministry.

"Campus ministry has been working with me to help me with whatever I want to create," Klafter said.

Fr. Gary Chamberland, director of Campus Ministry, said Campus Ministry wanted to do as much as they could to encourage other faiths, but that they needed the students to reach out too.

"We've got to help make the connection," Chamberland said. "But how do we make it? Speak more of it. We could put more signs up, but signs can only do so much. Signs and posters help people who already know what they're looking for. But they give [the students] the information they need."

Klafter was one of the few to reach out, and one of even fewer to reach out as a freshman. She was certain of her desire to pursue her faith, something that Campus Ministry admired and wanted to help her foster.

"They seemed pretty excited that I came forward," Klafter said.

Klafter hopes for more events and more organization for the group this upcoming year. She also hopes to spread the word about the organization to the students who may not be aware of its existence.

The Jewish Student Group doesn't have any set meeting times or location yet, but is planning on having a Rosh Hashana event at 4:30 on Sept. 18 in St. Mary's Lounge.

For more information about opportunities for Jewish students to practice their faith, contact Lauren Klafter at