By Chinonso Maduforo
The American Flag Building apartments on Knox Road, or AFB, have been a staple housing option for Jewish students for years.
All 15 apartments in AFB are currently occupied by Jewish students. With a basement and three upper floors, the apartment-turned-Jewish-community has become a place of kindred fellowship.
“Most people kind of do their own thing, but also people have just made friends with each other,” said Emma Tabakin, a senior public health science major. “A lot of people are in the same friend group and decided to all move in together.”
The environment, according to Tabakin, has been pretty open and welcoming.
“We go around to different apartments, and we also have some Shabbat meals together,” she said. “But it’s kind of like an open-door policy that people can just go to each other and ask for a cup of sugar and things like that.”
Echoing that sentiment, Raylie Aberman, a sophomore criminology and criminal justice and psychology major, said, “It’s basically community. We all pretty much know each other there’s a lot of going in and out of each other’s apartments.”
According to residents, the building is maintained by a lady in the basement office. When the residents need any help, they just go to her. The building is not run by any RAs.
As for the origin of the off-campus Jewish community space, many residents aren’t completely certain of how it came to be.
Recounting when their Jewish friend lived in the AFB over seven years ago, Isaac Soltz, a junior computer science major, and Yishai Brown, a senior criminology and criminal justice major, estimated that the building has been predominantly Jewish for at least 10 years. Their friend lived there in 2010, but according to Soltz and Brown, it was definitely Jewish before then.
“Now it’s like literally every apartment is Jews. I don’t know if it’s been as ubiquitous,” said Soltz. The only thing that can be said for sure is that the building has been there for as long as they have known.
In regards to the proportion of Jews to non-Jews over the years, Brown said, “I know last year there was one non-Jew, and the year before there were at least three.”
“It’s been majority let’s say for all those 10 years,” Ben Taragin, a senior finance major, said. “I think this is the first year, at least that I know of, that it’s all Jewish apartments.”
Many of the residents found out about the apartments via word-of-mouth. Tabakin said she found out about the apartment from her brother. She moved into the apartments because of the good location, cheap rent and fun environment. Aberman mentioned that she chose to move in because she knew a lot of people that lived there.