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Jewish Owl of the Week

Dr. Carol Holtz

Honorary Jewish Owl of the Week: 

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Dr. Carol Holtz
Chabad Faculty Advisor

Why don’t you start by telling us your background education? How long have you been teaching, and what made you want to go into this career path? Well, I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I ended up following my husband to Atlanta who was doing a Residency at Emory. We had a child born in Cincinnati, and then another in Atlanta. Eventually, my husband was drafted into the Navy and I moved to Texas with my husband and children where I taught nursing. However, we ended up back in Atlanta, where I had our third child. I went back to school at Georgia State to get my Masters in nursing, and then I taught at KSU for a while. However, I ended up back at Georgia State to get my PHD. I’ve now been teaching for 36 years, and will retire in July. I’ve taught in mostly the undergraduate, but I have worked in other areas as well. Additionally, I’ve taken students to different hospitals and clinics to get experience for their clinicals. My favorite place to take the students is Grady.

What accomplishment over the course of your career are you most proud of? A lot of different things. Right now, I’m the chair of Public Health for Cobb and Douglas Counties. It’s a big responsibility. I’m also the Associate Journal Editor of the International Journal of Transcultural Nursing. Additionally, I have a contract to write a 4th edition to my textbook. Another thing I am proud of, is the study abroad program I have been doing for 23 years. I take nursing students for 2 weeks to Oaxaca, Mexico. These trips helped me to master Spanish. I am almost fluent.

What are some of the things that you have seen change at KSU? The student body and campus has grown. As of now, we have undergraduate and graduate programs. I’m also happy to say that we now have a huge Jewish presence.

Tell us about your family and background.  We joined the Etz Chaim Congregation in 1980. In fact, my granddaughter is about to have her Bat Mitzvah there. To discuss my family, I have three children who are all married, and 13 grandchildren. I do family dinner every few weeks to get everybody together. Also, about me, I love to travel, with KSU or with my husband. I am actually going to Cuba with KSU very soon.

Tell us something that a lot of people would be shocked to know about you? A fun fact about myself, is the fact that I took a few courses at KSU, and didn’t tell anyone I was a professor. One of the courses was Medical Spanish.

So many Jewish students admire you and respect you for keeping the Jewish spark alive, even before Chabad existed on this campus. As the Chabad faculty advisor, tell us why you are so passionate about this organization? I worked with The Dean of the Business School who was Jewish, and we invited Jewish students to meet with us. I think any Jewish presence on this campus is important, and I will support it in every way that I can.

You have been incredibly supportive of the work of Chabad on Campus and Rabbi Zalman & Nechami, can you share with us how that came about to be and what prompted you to make it your mission to see Chabad succeed here at Kennesaw State? I had a friend who got me in touch with Rabbi and Nechami. In fact, Rabbi randomly came and knocked on my door in West Cobb, and I was thrilled to see him and discuss KSU’s Jewish life. I remember he only had three children then, when I went to his home for a Sukkot dinner. I think Rabbi and his family are so delightful. He has the greatest wife and the most well-behaved kids.

You have been to many Chabad dinners and events; how would you describe the feel of this organization? It’s like being with a family. I don’t feel like an outsider, I feel at home and very connected here. At Chabad, I don’t have to worry about what I say, or what I eat. I also like bringing my husband to Chabad, as he is emotionally connected to Judaism. Rabbi and his wife are just a special family. They show by example, and reach out to students which is truly wonderful.

What are your hopes for the Jewish students here on campus? I hope they spread the word, and I hope more Jewish people get involved. I think having a sukkot, or a table on campus makes Jewish students want to be connected. The connection is there, and part of our job is to educate the faculty and students about Judaism. Let’s be the example.

Where do you see Chabad in five years from now? I want to see the Chabad house on campus, and even more students belonging to this organization. I want the students to be proud of their identity. I want this generation of students to continue in Judaism, and have a background in Jewish knowledge. I want students to feel how I felt as a little girl, where I was surrounded by Judaism.

Can you share a message for the parents of students involved with Chabad? I think they should be proud of their children for connecting and getting involved in Chabad. Parents should get their Jewish students connected with this organization. It’s where they meet their best friends and possible spouses.

What are your thoughts about the recent property purchase and future Chabad building? I think it’s very exciting. It’s the progress that KSU is aiming for. The culture of Judaism will be on campus, and that is what we need. Jewish people will now continue to expand in Cobb county. The Jewish growth reflects on this campus. I feel that the new generation has changed the Jewish presence.

Why do you feel it is important that the general Jewish community and parents get behind this project with solid financial support? Well, it’s going to take a lot more people to make this actually happen. Unfortunately, the students can’t support it. This Jewish home needs to be on campus. It’s time.

Any message for your fellow Jewish faculty members? I think they need to make their identity known and not be avoiding. They should make the connection on campus. For example, I want my students to know I’m Jewish so they can reach out to me if they want.

What is your advice for aspiring teachers? I think they are going to need to connect to Chabad and other organizations and become leaders. They will have to give time out of their personal life to become part of the community.

After years of teaching, what do you think are the traits of a successful college student? Well they have to be physically and mentally stable and enthusiastic about their studies. It’s a competitive world, and they must study. They also must take care of themselves.  

Your final contribution to KSU, is being on the search committee for the new President of KSU? Can you tell us about that? What are you looking for? Someone who is open minded and academically sound. We want someone who embraces a variety of cultures, races, and religions. Our future President needs to be open about expanding, not just in numbers but in quality. This president will need to extend themselves and push what we need.

Leaving such a career is probably going to be a big adjustment, what are your plans after your retirement? I’ll start with, that it is entirely my choice to retire. In fact, they are asking me to stay. But it’s time, because of my age. I want to stop now, while I’m well, so I can enjoy my life. There are other things I want to do, and I’m not going to live forever. As of now, I do not have much flexibility because I teach all year round. I am looking forward to visiting family who are scattered around the country, instead of just a phone call. I also have 3 academic things I’m going to take with me, as I mentioned previously, so I’ll still be busy. It’s crazy to think that when I started at KSU, I had babysitters for my kids in the evening, but now I have fully grown, married children.

What are your final statements about Chabad and the importance Jewish life on this campus? It’s essential, and I think that the student body that is Jewish need to connect. Jewish faculty and students need to support each other.

Lastly, what is your favorite Jewish food? What I’m eating right now, pastrami with brown mustard on rye bread! Matzo ball soup is another favorite.

Doron Zarur

 

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Full Name: Doron Jacob Zarur 
Hometown: Kfar Saba, Israel
Class Year: 1st year (Technically 4th year)
Major: Architecture

Unlike most of our Jewish owls, you are Israeli! Can you tell us about your life back home in Israel? Studying Architecture major doesn’t leave you with a lot of free time. But when I had free time, I was hanging out with family and friends, swimming, and working. But mostly I loved to surf in the Mediterranean sea.

What made you move to America and study at KSU? I love travelling and this is one of my stops as I attempt to travel the world.  While I am here I am finishing my degree in architecture.

What is one of your favorite aspects of living here so far? The independence I have and being able to live by myself.

Tell us what you miss the most about Israel?   I miss my family and being at the beach.

How has Chabad at KSU changed your college experience?  Rabbi Zalman and Nechami welcomed me and made me feel right at home. KSU is a big place and it can be a bit overwhelming, through Chabad I met a group of interesting people, and I  reconnected with my Jewish roots.

Where is your favorite place that you have traveled to and why?  India! I travelled there between semesters during my second year at college in Israel.  I was there for two months. When I arrived in New Delhi, my phone died and I had two choices:  1) Buy a new phone. 2) Continue without a phone, that means no pictures, no music, no clock, no connection with friends in the trip or with family.  I took the 2nd choice and it was the best 2 months of my life!

Do you plan to stay here after you graduate?  Yes, but I will want my kids to join the IDF in Israel.

What keeps you coming back to Shabbat dinner at Chabad every week?  The good vibes from the people, the deep questions from the Rabbi, and the great food. 

Micah Greifinger

 Micah Greifinger

Full Name: Micah Alexander Greifinger
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Class Year: 2021
Major: Nursing

Can you tell me your favorite part about KSU thus far?  I love the people, the diversity, and the rigors that KSU has to offer.
 
You are a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi; tell us what your fraternity means to you.  To me it means I always have a great group of faithful and supportive brothers at my side.
 
How would you describe yourself to someone who does not know you?  I am easy going, studious, and funny.
 
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would that be? And why?   Hawaii, I have never been to Hawaii and I want to experience the beaches.
 
What was your first Chabad event? Can you share your first impression of the organization?  The welcome back BBQ. It was amazing to see such a wonderful Jewish group of people in the same place.
 
If you could change or upgrade anything about Kennesaw State University, what would that be? Why?  The cellular service, I can never get any service on campus.
 
What is one of your favorite Jewish traditions/holiday?  My favorite holiday is Hanukah, I love seeing all my family together enjoying a festive meal.
 
Why would you encourage other Jewish students to get involved with Chabad?  You have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people through Chabad. The real question is, why not?
 
Who is your Jewish Hero? Why?  My grandmother, she is an inspiring and amazing woman.
 
Favorite Jewish Food? Matzo Brei 
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