I am currently a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and spent the past year at a yeshiva in Jerusalem. The contrast of a religious environment and a completely secular one has proved quite difficult for me. My Torah study has faltered along with many other aspects of Jewish observance. I am wondering if you can suggest a way for me to remain religious while striving socially and academically in this secular environment.
Ever heard the old expression that "no Jew is an island," or something like that? An essential "survival technique" for any religious Jew is to be part of an observant community. If you live in the dorms, this presents a problem. It would be much better if you could board with an observant family. It's very likely that such opportunities exist in Montreal; if at all possible, this should be your first step.
Secondly, you need steady Torah study as part of your daily life. It's essential to set aside some time every day and night to study Torah, preferably with a chavruta study-partner. Contact Rabbi Eliyahu Finkelstein or Rabbi Nosson Kulefsky, and they will help you find a study program that fits your college schedule. I've included their address below. Wishing you success!
Ohr Somayach of Montreal
6772 deVimy, Montreal, PQ H3S 2R9
Tel: 514-341-6712 / 731-8348