On June 23, Brittany Goldberg, a May 2014 graduate of the University of Hartford, was a featured speaker at the celebration event of the Chabad on Campus International Conference. The event, held at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, N.Y., was attended by 400 Chabad on Campus rabbis and their families, as well as hundreds of supporters and lay leaders, including Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of the Hillel Foundation, who also addressed the conference.
“Brittany’s speech was very powerful and she absolutely rocked the house!” says Rabbi Yosef Kulek, director of the Rohr Chabad House at the University of Hartford.
In her speech, Goldberg, who is from Chicago, Ill., paid tribute to Rabbi Kulek and his wife Dalia, whom she described as “my family.”
“As a freshman, away from my dear mom, no longer in Chicago, I lost my patriarch and mentor, my dear zaidy (grandfather), Judge Bender,” she said. “If not for the support of Rabbi and Dalia, I would have most certainly dropped out of Hartford. They kept me in school and gave me the encouragement I needed freshman year. They welcomed me on to the Chabad board and told me that I didn’t need a sorority because Chabad is my sorority, my cheerleaders, my friends, my family and my support group.”
Eventually, Goldberg did join a sorority, but she found a meeting point between what she referred to as her “secular life and Jewish life on campus.”
For example, she said, “I just had to spend a bit of Shabbos at the Rohr Chabad House. Whether it was staying with the Rabbi’s family for Shabbos or just stopping by for Kiddush on my way out to the parties. Otherwise, I simply would not have a good week.”
A fellow of the Chabad on Campus Sinai Scholars Society, Goldberg left for Israel soon after the conference to attend Machon Alte in Tzefat, with the support of Chabad on Campus International.
“Chabad will always be my #1 sorority!” Goldberg told conference attendees. “[They are] my cheerleaders and my true friends that will last a lifetime.”