During my childhood, I genuinely thought that Jewish people didn’t live in Texas. I was the product of a culture that valued homogeneity over diversity, and conformity over questioning. Like many college students, my early adulthood began with one big question: Who am I? During my first year at Rice, I set up a meeting with Rabbi Kenny Weiss of Houston Hillel, who graciously allowed me to pick his brain: What did it mean to be Jewish, if so many Jews were atheists? What do Jews believe? Why did their prayer books open backwards? He encouraged me to continue learning more and following my questions about Judaism. Coincidentally, around this time I learned of the new Jewish Studies program at Rice. It was beshert.Motivated equally by academic curiosity and my own search for identity, I began taking Jewish Studies courses every semester. Jewish Studies encouraged me to explore and follow my passions, academic and personal, by continuing to grapple with my questions. I quickly began to find my identity in the community created by Jewish Studies at Rice. My Jewish Studies courses were academically fascinating, and also translated into my real life as I went through the process of conversion. In 2015, two years after graduating from Rice, while watching the sunrise at Masada, I experienced the feeling of awe and connection to something greater than myself—a history, a culture, a people, a home—that many before me have described more articulately. In that moment, I realized with immense gratitude that my experiences in Jewish Studies fundamentally shaped my identity in a way that helped me find myself and my home.