My Jewish Community In Norway
Studying abroad last fall was one of the most frightening decisions I ever made. It was always something I hoped to experience but figured I would do so once I had grown and matured enough to be independent.
Turns out, the growth I needed would come from my study abroad semester itself. I learned so much just by travelling to my final destination of Oslo, Norway; it was insane. Navigating three airports, a train, the metro, and a few buses left me with nothing to rely on but my quick thinking.
After settling in to my host city and beginning classes, I wanted to find my local Jewish community if possible to celebrate the holidays with. Luckily, I had connections with UF Hillel, and Rabbi Adam reached out to me with a unique opportunity to help find my local Jewish community.
He introduced me to Becca, a representative of a new company called KAHAL. KAHAL is a non-profit designed to be “Your Jewish Home Abroad” and helps Jewish students connect to local Jewish communities in their study abroad host city!
I was excited to discover that there was a rabbi living nearby that was from the US but now studied full time in Norway, and KAHAL helped me to set up a time to meet with him.
It was a really wonderful experience getting to meet an American living abroad who shared the same faith as me, and we ended up talking for hours in a local coffee shop! It was an unexpectedly wonderful experience that was one of the highlights of my semester.
Following that opportunity, I was also able to apply for a grant from KAHAL to host my very own Hanukkah party in order to promote the education of Judaism. Being the only Jew in my small program, it was awesome to share the traditions of Hanukkah with all of my new friends!
We made latkes, drank wine, ate sufganyot, and played dreidel while I told the story of the Macabees and the miracle of lights. Overall, studying abroad was a fantastic experience that broadened my knowledge of the cultures of the world, and gave me the opportunity to share my culture with others!