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Earlier this month, the Class of 2017 officially joined the distinguished ranks of Duke alumni. To mark this occasion, Jewish Life at Duke hosted our annual Jewish Baccalaureate – a ceremony celebrating their intellectual, personal, and Jewish journeys at Duke. Parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends traveled from near and far to give a resounding “mazal tov!” to the new graduates and wish them well as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.  
 
Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs, offered the opening remarks. Dr. Moneta spoke about the value of “doing Jewish,” which he defined as: remembering the Holocaust, leading an ethical and moral life, working for justice and equality, being intellectually curious, and caring about Israel. In closing, he encouraged the students to “do Jewish” in their own unique ways.

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Tell us about yourself, Dylan:
I’m a sophomore from New York City majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics Thumbnail
 
Why did you choose Duke? 
I chose Duke because I felt that the campus had the perfect combination of strong school spirit driven by athletics and a passion and commitment to academics. I also felt that Duke best enabled me to grow in ways that I hadn’t experienced before.
 
Outside of the classroom, what are you involved in on campus?

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As always, things are busy here on campus: students are finishing up end-of-year programming, participating in JFAM and Birthright Israel orientation, and getting ready to start studying for final exams. Amidst all that, students across campus still made it a priority to come together and celebrate Passover. It’s always a treat to celebrate the holiday here at JLD; on both the first and second night, we broke matzah with approximately 60 students who joined us at our free communal Seders here at the Freeman Center. Open to all, these Seders offer students a traditional Passover experience that they can enjoy with the larger Duke community.
 

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Passover 2017

Seder
Jewish Life at Duke strives to make Passover at Duke a special time by providing multiple options for Seders. Students are more than welcome to attend a traditional, communal seder at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life, or they may elect to attend one of the many student hosted Seders held across campus. Students are kindly asked to register for all Passover celebrations.

Passover celebrations at the Freeman Center:
1st Seder: Monday, April 10th at 7:15pm
2nd Seder: Tuesday, April 11th at 8:15pm
Matzah Brie Brunch: Thursday, April 13th from 5:00 – 8:00pm
Passover Shabbat: Friday, April 14th at 7:00pm

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Last weekend, the Jewish Student Union and Jewish Life at Duke teamed up for the sixth annual Duke B’nai Mitzvah program. Jessica Matthys, T'17, and Alex Merriman, T'17, took a momentous step in their Jewish journeys, celebrating their B’nai Mitzvah with Jewish Life at Duke.
 
Created in 2012 as a partnership between the Jewish Student Union and JLD, the annual B’nai Mitzvah program has become one of our most beloved offerings. So far, nine Jewish Duke students (and one JLD staff member) who had not previously become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah has celebrated this milestone right here at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life.  
 

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The calendar says winter, but at Jewish Life at Duke we’re already thinking spring. Jewish Life at Duke’s annual Birthright Israel trip begins on May 17 and recruitment is already under way.
 

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Why did you choose to go to Duke?
I chose to attend Duke because it has a great blend of strong academics, school spirit, and exciting and cohesive campus life. Thumbnail

What did you study at Duke? Outside of the classroom, what were you involved in on campus?
I majored in Biology, and minored in Global Health. Outside of the classroom, I was involved in Jewish Student Union, WISER, Brownstone SLG, neurobiology research, and of course, I spent a lot of time cheering on the Duke basketball team.

Why did you decide to go on Birthright Israel?

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The 2016 Fall semester has officially concluded at Duke and here at the Freeman Center, we saw firsthand just how hard our students work on their academics. As per usual during finals week, we witnessed students camping out in the building until the wee hours of the morning, cramming for exams, putting finishing touches on final papers, and enjoying plenty of free snacks in the lounge (and yes, sometimes they also indulged in a nap or two on one of our couches). We’re always glad to see our students working hard and finding themselves at home in the Freeman Center during the often stressful end of semester stretch.

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