Lily Shaffer ’10 Attends Temple Weekly Despite Challenging Pace of Life at Andover

Despite her hectic Andover schedule, Lily Shaffer ’10 still makes time to read the Torah, observe Shabbat, study scripture and attend weekly services at her Temple in Winchester, Massachusetts. Shaffer said, “I just love prayer. From going on a really hard run and thinking ‘God, please get me through this,’ to every night before I go to bed.” Observing Shabbat, the practice of abstaining from spending money from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday can seem impossible to many. But to Shaffer, Shabbat helps her remember her family and community. “I don’t spend money on Shabbat because, to me, it means I don’t need any more than what I already have with my family and friends,” she said. Attending service on campus is often hard to schedule due to conflicts from the many other clubs Shaffer is involved with. Shaffer regularly attends the Shir Tikva Reformed Temple in Winchester, MA every Friday and the Jewish Student Union (JSU) services whenever they are available. Shaffer noted differences between the service held by the Andover Jewish Student Union and those held by her temple. “When I go in to [Shir Tikva] there’s this communal sense, you see the same people every week, whereas on campus you’re lucky if you hit four or five people at a service, and the rabbi can’t always make it because he has his own synagogue,” she said. Shaffer believes that services are a time of the week to be in the present and reflect on her week. Shaffer sees elements of Judaism in her everyday life through community service and her music. Shaffer especially values Sadaqa, the Jewish notion of doing a good thing just to do a good thing without motives. As a community service general coordinator, Shaffer says, “that is really my thing, I really dig it.” Shaffer continued, “Judaism is really about giving to others and doing things for others. And whether I give someone music or I give somebody a meal it really reminds me.” Music is another aspect of temple that Shaffer enjoys. “I think what makes my temple extremely special to me, is the music. We have an unbelievable cantor and something magical happens every time we go in there,” said Shaffer. At JSU services Shaffer tries to create that same sense of community by bringing her guitar and singing. Shaffer believes that she has become more religious since coming to Andover. She attributes the change to the experience of being different from the mainstream religion, and seeking a community to fall back on. At home neither of Shaffers parents practice Judaism to the extent that she does, leading her grandparents to joke, “I’m the most jewish-y grandchild there is,” Shaffer said. Shaffer said that some people jump to Jewish stereotypes when she introduces herself. “I’ve had people come up to be say, ‘Oh, you’re only half-Jewish,’ or, ‘Shaffer that’s such a Jewish name’,” she said. “One person asked me if I was taught to hate Germans in Hebrew School,” Shaffer continued. Shaffer sometimes sees misunderstanding in her classes as well. “In my existentialism class when I said that I don’t swear, or that I study Torah everyday, a couple kids started laughing,” she said. Despite occasional jokes, Shaffer said that the majority of students are a pretty tolerant community, though they aren’t always driven to incorporate religion into their lives. “Andover is not a religious community so it’s really up to you to make the time. And Andover kids always have so much going on, for that reason I think that [religion] is thrown behind you. It’s not the path well worn here,” she said.