Profiles in Faith: Hadley Platek
Her pilgrimage to the Jewish homeland was just one among many life changing experiences the Trenton senior has had while being a part of Hillel at Central Michigan University.As she walked through the streets of Jerusalem, Hadley Platek felt the warm spiritual embrace of her people’s history and Jewish birthright. She visited the Golan Heights and even prayed at the holy Western Wall.
“It felt surreal that I was in Israel, but it also felt so very right," Platek said. "Most of the time I was there I thought about my family and my grandma, because I know she would love to go someday."
Her pilgrimage to the Jewish homeland was just one among many life changing experiences the Trenton senior has had while being a part of Hillel at Central Michigan University. Hillel is the Jewish student’s cultural group on campus that focuses on culture.
For Platek, however, her membership in the group has done more than just connect her to her heritage -- it’s also put her religious life into greater context.
Explorations of faith have been a cornerstone of her life, Platek said. When she was a child, her family celebrated many different religious holidays. As she grew older, the exposure to different ideas and values helped solidify her faith in Judaism.
“Practicing holidays, to me, is about reflecting on what they mean,” Platek said. “It’s about reflecting on what they mean, and how I can relate that to my life and better myself.”
That journey evolved tenfold when she came to CMU.
“Being here, I was able to work with other Jewish students for the first time,” she said. “CMU gave me Hillel.”
Now, she gives back as the chapter’s president. Platek said Hillel gives her a home away from home, but at first, she was wary to join.
“One crisis of faith I had (early on) was trying to decide if getting involved and becoming more religious (was right for me),” she said. “I wasn’t sure if would be accepted. I soon learned that no matter where a student is at in identifying with Judaism, or not, it was worth it to reach out.”