Guest post By Chaim Leib Kleinman
Hillel is the epicenter of collegiate Jewish life. Maybe it used to be the place to meet goys and eat treif, but things have changed. It’s good to know what sorts of people you’ll run into (and should avoid like tzaraas) at Hillel. Here’s a comprehensive field guide of the different personality types you’ll see at your local Hillel.
1) The Off-The-Derech guy:
He knows where to put the tof and sof. He davens with a shtark ashkenaz nusach only to be found in the Jewish ghettoes of Brooklyn. If you ask where he went to yeshiva , his answer will indicate there is no way in gehenom that he owned a TV growing up. But after shana bet or gimel in that super Charedi yeshiva in Israel, something snapped. The black velvet yarmulke comes off after shul, and you can be sure you’ll see him eating hot dairy out (which, according to his parents, is as good as pork.)
2) The Yeshiva Bochur: (Also known as the flaming BT.)
Whether he was raised Modox or secular, as far as he’s concerned, he’s now the new Hillel rabbi. He’s the freshman that starts gesticulating wildly and yelling profanities in davanese when you rip some challah off before they said Hamotzi at Shabbat dinner. He always does the davar, and he’s the one rushing Shabbos lunch before all the guys leave so he can daven Mincha. By sophomore or junior year, after he’s gone to a few parties on Shabbos and made out with a few shiksas, he tends to mellow out a bit.
3) The feminist: she runs/starts rosh chodesh club, insists on egalitarian services (even when there aren’t enough people for an egal minyan), and insists that a girl makes Hamotzi (at the distress of the yeshiva bochur). But she can’t lose, because the (obviously very liberal) Hillel rabbi will automatically take her side, because G-d forbid Hillel should be taken over by frummies.
4) The Jewish Hillbilly: he/she probably grew up in the Bible Belt where being Jewish is a sin and having kosher food is assur. Maybe he/she was the only Jew in his/her school. Seeing all these Jews and kosher food in one place may be overwhelming at first. Guide him/her slowly, and be understanding if he/she has no clue that you’re supposed to shut up before Hamotzi. Besides, he/she could be Sephardi; you never know.
5) The New Yorker: the stark contrast to the Jewish hillbilly: you can bet your bottom dollar (if it weren’t assur) that this person will complain for all of freshman year. There aren’t any good kosher pizza places open motzei Shabbos. There are only two orthodox shuls in the whole town, where there were ten on his/her block in NY. Give him/her some space to rough it in the wild– and don’t tell him/her that you had only one orthodox shul in your city back home; it won’t help.
6) The Egal Orthodox Girl: Shira hadadsha is the name of the game. She probably grew up conservative or modox. She probably studied at Pardes, the Chilul Hashem that masquerades as a learning institution. Has no shame in ripping people from the “real orthodox minyan” so she can carry out her apikoris schemes. Probably never gets a minyan more than once a semester (because getting twenty people together to daven AND getting enough women to lein is damn near impossible.) She has everything bad to say about “mainstream Orthodoxy,” (yeah, she’s probably a hipster) but staunchly refuses to leave the real Jews alone and join the Conservative minyan.
7)The Hillel Mom: Also known as Jewish guilt incarnate, which translates to recruiting in Jewish nonprofits. Did you know there’s Jewish yoga on Thursday night? Did you know about the Ethiopian Israeli speaker Tuesday lunch? We really need more people for the Wednesday parsha class. So in case all those phone calls from mom making sure you’re doing Jewish stuff and not dating goyim weren’t enough, this girl won’t take no for an answer. That’s why they recruited (read: guilt tripped) her to Hillel board in the first place. But if you come to these events? She loves you to pieces and gives you plenty of positive reinforcement (read: free food) to ensure that you come back. Isn’t that good, Jewish loving?
8) The Obnoxious Couple:
The one guy and girl that managed to accomplish what you come to Hillel to do in the first place: get laid. Oh, there’s no doubt that they’re doing it. That couch in the Hillel building that everybody does it on? They’ve done it at least five times there, and in the rabbi’s office, too. Everybody pretends they think it’s cute, grumbles about excessive PDAs, and secretly wishes it was them.
9) The Flirt: isn’t that everybody? But really. This girl is here to get laid/married, and makes no bones about it. All the not-so-covert comments about double mitzvah on Friday night make everybody internally groan. She probably came from a frum background and has no clue how to talk to guys because boys were just as assur as red shirts were at her Bais Yaakov school. Give her a break; she’ll either get over it or start dating an AEPi brother. (Please note that people like this are the next generation of hot chanis.)
10) The Goy: Hillel’s mission statement says nothing about serving Jews, so it’s kosher, right? He may be someone’s roommate who came for the free Shabbat dinner, or the Judeophile who wants to bang a hot Bais Yaakov… well… you know what I’m referring to. Or, he may be dating one of your friends. Lastly this person may secretly want to convert. Ya never know with goyim; guess they’re not all the same?
Behatzlacha, rabbosai! Be careful of these types–you don’t want to mess up your perfect shidduch resume by interacting with them too much. Oh, wait, you already did; you went to college and didn’t stay in Yeshiva to learn full-time. Joke’s on you.