Alumnus of the Month: Jennifer Freiman

Jennifer Freiman grew up in Florida and attended a small Orthodox Jewish school, for eleven years. She switched to a school that was somewhat less religious, and eventually followed her brother to public school, drifting away from Judaism in the wake of her parents’ divorce. Soon, she stopped attending temple and began eating non-kosher, putting life as an Orthodox Jew to a complete stop. Even though Judaism was no longer a priority to her, she still continued attending JSU meetings at her high school. During her junior year, she became an active JSU member and began attending NCSY Shabbatons. She was constantly reminded about the option of going to Israel for her first year of school every time she attended a shabbaton, but didn't act upon this information. Her senior year provided a turning point when she watched a film about the Holocaust that left her saddened by her life choices. She sat in her car trying to repeat aloud the few Jewish prayers she still remembered and expressed an inner wish to change herself.

Despite this desire, Jennifer applied to a public college, got in and joined a sorority. She felt that she simply couldn’t let go of the freedom and fun she craved. She soon discovered, however, that even though she was supposed to be having the time of her life, she nevertheless felt something missing. Guidance from Rabbi Tully Bryks and Rabbi Mutty Breier showed her that it was not too late to consider the Israel option. Thus it was that post-Passover 2010 Jennifer picked herself up and made the remarkable transition of switching to the Bar Ilan Israel Experience program, an experience which she describes as “recreating a lifestyle that was so dear to me in my childhood” and one where her “neshama is soaring high.” Jennifer hopes to continue her connection to NCSY and would especially like to serve as an advisor on a future NCSY Summer program.