By Mike Siegel

A college class that teaches students how to cook, exercise and stay healthy and only meets three times a semester seems too good to be true.

However, starting this October, Maryland’s Hillel is sponsoring a three-part course called “Healthy Jewish Living.” The program’s three meetings, which consist of food learning, fitness learning and stress management learning, take place on North Campus, said Maiya Chard-Yaron, Hillel’s director of educational engagement.

The first ‘foodie’ session was on Oct. 24 in La Plata Hall, where students cooked a healthy, budget-friendly meal together and looked at some Jewish perspectives on food and mindful eating, Chard-Yaron said. She added that the program will meet for its “physical fitness session” in November and the “stress management” session in December right before final exams start.

“The hope is that this will turn into an ongoing educational initiative with Hillel,” said Chard-Yaron. She hopes to eventually expand the “Healthy Jewish Living” program to other parts of campus as well.

Hillel’s goal is to engage more students in its programs and organizations by introducing this course to Jewish students on campus.

“I think it would be interesting to learn about [healthy Jewish living],” said sophomore journalism major Matt Bylis. “I think it’d be cool to see how it compares with the way I was raised and the way my parents taught me how to take care of myself.” Bylis is not involved in any on-campus Jewish clubs or organizations, but feels that “Healthy Jewish Living” could definitely make him consider joining them if he likes the course and its members.

Amanda Nessel, a junior accounting major, said she would definitely attend the course’s meetings.

“It sounds like a very interesting class that could benefit me in the future. I know a lot about Judaism, but I have never learned about [those] topics in a Jewish context before,” said Nessel. As the social action Chair of the Jewish Student Union and a member of Hillel, Nessel is looking forward to hearing more about the class.

“I’m sure it will be successful,” said Nessel.

While some Jewish students are excited to attend the “Healthy Jewish Living” class’s sessions, students like Kaylin Bugos, a senior journalism and government and politics double major, may not be able to fit the class into their daily routines.

“I love that Hillel is offering [the class] and there is nobody better equipped to teach [it] than Maiya,” said Bugos. “I just don’t have time for [it]. Otherwise, I would probably consider it.” Bugos believes that “Healthy Jewish Living” will be a successful way to get students involved with Hillel.

“Jewish life on campus has so much to offer and has really defined my college experience…I think that anything that brings students into the larger Jewish community is a great idea,” said Bugos.

Students can RSVP to the event’s classes on Hillel’s Facebook page or by emailing Chard-Yaron.


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