‘Tis the season for personal reflection, deep prayer and spiritual rebirth. Hillel students celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, by picking apples, organizing pluralistic services and joining High Holiday book clubs. Below are snapshots from some of their pre-celebrations and upcoming events:
A Sweet New Year
Canadian Jewish students spent their Sunday afternoon scouring rows of trees for the crispest apples. The outing was organized by affiliates of Hillel Ontario, including Hillel Ryerson University, Hillel York University, Hillel University of Toronto, Hillel University of Guelph and Hillel McMaster University.
Oars in the Water
After services on the first and second day of Rosh HaShanah, students involved with University of Vermont Hillel observed tashlich, a tradition that permits Jews to symbolically cast away their sins by tossing bread crumbs into a running body of water. Students threw bread while kayaking on Lake Champlain to honor this age-old tradition.
Reverse Tashlich, an initiative of Eckerd College Hillel, encourages Jewish students to “reverse” the traditional practice of tashlich by participating in local waterfront cleanups. More than 10 Hillels across the nation participated in the program, including University of Iowa Hillel and University of Rochester Hillel.
A Time for Prayer
To ensure Jewish students with varying backgrounds have a meaningful High Holiday experience, Elon University Hillel organized pluralistic services for Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Orthodox and non-denominational students. Some chanted Torah and led prayers.
Hit the Books
Jewish students who wanted to engage in communal introspection this High Holiday season can join a book club organized by Columbia/Barnard Hillel. They can choose to participate in discussions about a variety of books, including “My Jewish Year” and “This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation.”