Jewish dialogue group on campus explores jewish identity at Scripps

Rebecca Millberg ‘17 is starting a Jewish Dialogue Group through Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) that will begin meeting regularly next semester. The group will provide “space for any student who currently identifies as Jewish or has identified as Jewish in the past to explore their Jewish identity and how it shapes their experience at Scripps,” Millberg says. 

According to Millberg, ten percent of the 5C student body identify as Jewish, but many of these students do not engage in any Jewish life on campus. “There is not a single organization on any of the campuses that fosters exploration of Jewish identity rather than simply Jewish ritual practice,” Millberg said, which is one of the reasons she believes many Jewish students do not partake in the Jewish life at the 5Cs. She hopes to create a community and network of Jewish students on campus. 

Millberg has both attended and acted as a counselor at a Jewish summer camp, and has gone through a Sustained Dialogues Inclusive Leadership workshop here at Scripps. “I feel prepared to start a conversation with other Jewish students about our experiences and identities,” Millberg said. “I want to create a space where Jewish students can have dialogues about difficult and important issues, such as what it means to be a Jew in college, how individuals relate to their Judaism differently and how Judaism intersects with race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and other identities, all while looking at our experiences through a social justice lens. These dialogues will allow group members to not only better understand their own experiences but also understand and relate to others’ experiences... Historically and in the present, Jews have been and still are marginalized and victims of hatred and anti-Semitism.” 

Millberg says that there have been anti-Semitic bias-related incidents (such as mezuzas being torn off of dorm room doors) during her time at Scripps, and in addition to these incidents, Millberg says that at times when she has felt marginalized it has been a challenge to find “a truly stong Jewish community” at the 5Cs. Jewish students face everyday marginalization such as the lack of Kosher food at any of the 5C dining halls and the fact that some Jewish students have to miss class for Jewish holidays. She hopes to raise awareness on campus about the marginalization of Jewish students and to create that community. 

“In order to create a truly strong Jewish community on campus, it is crucial that Jewish students at Scripps first explore their identities.” Millberg said. 

There was an informal meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 18, but regular meetings will not begin until next semester. Millberg encourages anyone interested in this group to email her for more information at RMillber5497@scrippscollege.edu.