Bruins B'Olam: Chloe Krasnoff
Bruins B'Olam is a blog series about Jewish Bruins around the world on Alternative Break experiences with UCLA Hillel. Alternative Break is a week-long immersive experience with students participating in community service projects with partner organizations. This year, Alternative Spring Break is going to the Dominican Republic on an education service trip; if you would like to join us or have more questions, please contact Jessica Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I did the ASB trip to Oklahoma last spring break to help rebuild homes destroyed by the tornadoes near Norman, OK. This was a great trip for so many reasons. I got to meet a great group of students, both from UCLA and University of Illinois, make new friends, see a part of the country and way of life I normally would never have the chance of being exposed to, help people in need, spend a week palling around with my boyfriend who convinced me to go on the trip with him, and most importantly, got to learn more about the Jewish faith.
I come from a mixed faith family. My mom's family is Catholic and my dad's family is Jewish. Growing up I was raised Catholic but was exposed to a wonderful mix of both faiths and cultures. However, I did not know as much about the Jewish faith as I would have liked. A few years ago however, my dad's father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and while he no longer recognizes me, he talks about "his beautiful Jewish granddaughter and how proud he is of her" whenever I go to visit him in his nursing home. Hearing these words or watching him randomly start singing Jewish prayers and songs mid-conversation helped me see how important his faith was to him and made me want to become more knowledgable and involved in Judaism to honor him and his memory. Therefore, with the help of my then-boyfriend (an active member of UCLA's Hillel) I was able to go on this trip and become a part of the wonderful Hillel community. It was a once in a lifetime experience that changed my views on Judaism and different walks of life, and I encourage anyone with the opportunity to do to take advantage of this amazing program.