It's Chai Month at Wellesley College Hillel, a month full of various activities, lectures and programs celebrating Jewish life and culture on campus. Not only do we invite the entire student community, we also plan specific events to engage our Jewish faculty, staff and alumnae. These programs give us the opportunity to be with those who are usually outside of our regular programming and to spend more intimate time with them. It also gives us all the chance to meet in a more informal manner and have those three groups that support Hillel enjoy and participate in these activities.
This year we planned two events: a Hamentashen baking program and a Faculty, Staff and Alumnae Shabbat. Patti Sheinman, Hillel Director sent out invitations on our behalf to these members of our community. The response was wonderful, the turn out strong and we had a wonderful time together. To have an opportunity to interact with fellow Wellesley sisters, of both present and past, and faculty and staff outside of the classroom and administrative settings was unusual and very relaxing.
The first program was with the Deans of the college and Administrators, who took time out of their busy schedules to join us for baking Hamentashen. It did not seem to matter that we were all covered with flour and laughed together as we came up with some unusual fillings for hamentashen, some that I had never before heard of! The conversation was light and having time to schmooze while cooking was an added bonus as we hardly ever have time to do that.
The second event was a faculty, staff, alumnae Shabbat service and dinner. Our student Shabbat coordinator, Rachel Roston, planned this special Shabbat. Again, we invited our Jewish administration to join us and participate. The Associate Dean of the College replied to our requests and we were thrilled when she said she would lead services with the students. Alumnae and faculty contributed some readings to our Shabbat service and students were delighted to spend Shabbat with these wonderful women. After services were held we had a Shabbat dinner that allowed us time to share stories and reflect together on our Jewish experience at Wellesley.
These events are just a sampling of the times in which faculty, staff, alumnae and students get together during the academic year in the order to celebrate their Jewish commonality. It lets students how much Jewish support they have on campus and to connect with the people on a more personal level. But most importantly, everyone walks away from these events having had a great time, good conversation, learning more about each other and of course, really delicious food!