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Student Spotlight: Sarah Seltzer

From an early age, Sarah Seltzer knew that being Jewish was a major part of her identity. Currently in her senior year at CSUN, she is a Violin Performance Major and a foundational member of Hillel 818's Judaism, Songs and Stories fellowship. An LA native, Sarah grew up active in Leo Baeck Temple for much of her childhood. When she transferred from UC Berkeley to CSUN to study music, she immediately knew she wanted to get involved with the Jewish community.

Through the power of social media, Sarah connected with Hillel 818 on Instagram. After finding Hillel 818 on Instagram, she began to coming to events when she could, at first virtually during the beginning of the pandemic. While Instagram helped Sarah find Hillel 818, the community and the welcoming environment have gotten her to stay. She believes that it is very important to be involved and to have pride in being Jewish and that Hillel is an important space where people can be Jewish together. Sarah also believes that she has a responsibility to contribute to the community, to show up and give something of herself to community because of what the Jewish community has given to her. Hillel 818 helps her fulfill that responsibility.

Before even registering for the Judaism, Songs, and Stories Fellowship, Sarah was planning a research paper on Jewish music for her class called “Music from a Global Perspective.” By joining the Judaism, Songs, and Stories Fellowship, Sarah is finding a way to explore Jewish music and Jewish liturgy with likeminded creative people. As someone who did not have a Bat Mitzvah, the fellowship has been an amazing opportunity for her to explore new liturgy. In fact, the fellowship has even led to a conversation with her younger sister about Jewish music and how the both of them, even her less Jewishly involved sister, really feel a deep connection to any and all forms of Jewish music.

When thinking about her own Hillel experience, Sarah thinks a lot about centering Jewish joy as one of the most important parts of her Jewish college experience. She understands that Antisemitism is a big problem in many places and that often the most subtle forms of Antisemitism are some of the biggest problems. Sarah puts a lot of her energy into the positive side of being Jewish and that makes all of the difference for her. Sarah believes that centering Jewish joy in your own life is a really powerful tool for combatting all forms of Antisemitism. And she feels grateful to have found an outlet for creating that Jewish joy at Hillel 818.

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