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The life of …Rabbi Reena Judd
Many students do not take advantage of the religious services available here on campus. However, for those of the Jewish faith, there is Rabbi Reena Judd. Judd calls herself the “public face for Judaism” on Quinnipiac University’s campus.
She is there to mentor and speak with students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, about anything they would like to talk about.
Judd was raised in Hamden for most of her life and had always followed Judaism. She was brought up as a Zionist, which is a Jewish person who would like to live in Israel. Her desire came true when she became a young adult and lived in Israel for six years. While there, she served three and half years in the Israeli army. About eight years ago, after also serving as a rabbi throughout the country, Judd and her family returned to Hamden.
Now at Quinnipiac, Judd is also heavily involved with Hillel.
Hillel is a Jewish organization on campus that has been growing in the three years Judd has been at Quinnipiac University.
The first year Judd was here the incoming freshman class was only made up of 10 students, but the second year 20 students joined Hillel, and by this year, the number increased to 30. A big part of the reason the organization has grown larger is in thanks to Judd.
The first year she was on the job Judd assessed what needed to be done to improve Quinnipiac’s Hillel chapter.
The first thing she did was create a Hillel affiliation where students from home who were looking for colleges could view a list and see which school had a Hillel. This is especially important for pro-active Jews who would like to continue practicing their religion and continue meeting other Jewish students in college.
Since she has been a rabbi here, Judd has greatly increased the number of activities for Hillel members on campus. Her first year Hillel only had 14 events, but this year they will have 24 each of which is welcoming to all students.
On Quinnipiac’s Web site, they mention some of the events such “as trips to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., religious services, trips to New York theaters, holiday parties and Shabbat dinners and services. The organization also takes interest in involvement with other campuses in the area.”
Judd’s favorite part about her job at QU as a rabbi, is that she likes working with young people and getting to know them. She calls the members of Hillel “good Jews.”
She is always there for the students stating, “I never leave, it’s always there.”
She is a “passionate, compassionate, and efficient” Rabbi who is a great contribution to Quinnipiac University.
Although Rabbi Judd practices Reform Judaism, many of the students who attend Hillel are Conservative Jews.
“I try hard not to have my denominational affiliation influence what I offer students who choose to participate,” Judd said.
However, whether a Jewish student is Non-denominational, Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox, any will feel connected welcome to participate in all of Hillel’s activities on campus.
There are currently 365 Jewish students at Quinnipiac and only 60 belong to Hillel. But for those who are considering it, it is more than just learning about Judaism and partaking in Jewish related events, it is also about meeting other people with whom you already share a common bond. Rabbi Judd is working to make that happen.
Rabbi Judd can be contacted at SC208.