This project was on display in the Kraft Center. The following text is the introduction to the exhibition:
All Jewish students at Columbia University have something unique to offer their peers, both in terms of their particular practice and understanding of Judaism as well as their talents, hobbies and passions. This range of personality among the members of our own community needs to be embraced and expressed.
To that end, this project features portraits of selected students in two settings: one, displaying their connection to or acting out their unique sense of Judaism; and two, engaging in a hobby or showcasing a talent. The pictures are displayed on the stairs from the basement through the second floor, in order to be visible to students of every different community.
We're all Jewish and we have to see each other that way, even if someone else's practices or beliefs are worlds apart from our own. It's not just about demonstrating that other practices exist, it’s about proudly displaying them. The hope is that this feeling of positive unity will always be the one that Hillel-goers associate with their community, and not other feelings like judgement or ostracization that none of us want as part of our communal and religious life.
We're all exploring Judaism and we will all continue to do so. We all have questions and challenges. For each of us, our Judaism is different, and for each of us it is valid - no matter how much the mysterious spectrum seeks to pin us down as “fanatical,” “secular,” or any other label in between. We are, after all, one community.
Through being ourselves, talking about ourselves and sharing our lives, passions and stories with others, we can live up to that title. As you look at the photos around the building and read a little more about the incredibly variant Jewish identities and wide spectrum of talents of your fellow students, take their words to heart.