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Religious Life: Varied, Crazy, Fulfilling...

An Interview with Katy Swartz '13

Katy Schwartz

To which organization do you belong? How long have you been involved?

I belong to Hillel. I have been involved since the beginning of my first year.

What motivated you to join?

My Judaism. I grew up in a Jewish home and could not imagine my college life without that Jewish influence.

What role do you think spirituality should play on Smith campus?

I think it should be more important than it is now.

What distinguishes Smith from other spiritual communities you have belonged to or observed?

Smith is the first community I have been involved in that has such a varied religious community on campus. I grew up in a very sheltered community where you were either Jewish or Christian. There was never anything else.

Have you had any funny, bizarre, or amazing experiences with your organization?

Yes. This December, we were frying potatoes to make a special food that we eat at Hannukah, called Latkes. Most of us had little experience with frying in oil (I personally grew up in a family where we didn't fry anything), so it was a great experience to learn how to deal with all the oil while making latke for 100+ people. We had a little oil spill on one of the burners, which not surprisingly started a fire, and instead of trying to put it out, we were all just so shocked we just stood there and watched it. Luckily it went out after a few minutes, but in retrospect I do think we should've done something more than just stare at it...

What have you learned about yourself and your spirituality at Smith?

That even when I am in a community with people very different from me, it is important that I maintain my identity as an orthodox Jew.

If you had to sum up your spiritual experience here in 5 words or less, what would they be?

Interesting, crazy, varied, challenging, fulfilling