Rosh Hashanah marks the New Year for the Jewish Community. It is celebrated the first day of Tishrei which is the seventh month in the Jewish calendar.
Hillel is a jewish organization that encourages students to practice and embrace their faith. It’s located on 1441 W. Norris Street. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and one of the biggest holidays, began the evening of September 13th and ends the evening of September 15th. The holiday is a time for celebration and worship.
On Temple’s campus, the Jewish demographic is around 1500 students and approximately 810 of those students are involved with Hillel in some fashion. Rosh Hashanah, a holiday for reflection and to make goals for the upcoming year to better themselves and peers, is one of the most prominent holidays within Judaism. The schedule entailed an evening service at 7:30 p.m., particular prayers in repense, learning and the teachings of Jewish texts, and then the ceremony of Tach Lich “bread into water”. Tach Lich involves placing bread into water. The water then carries away bits of the bread symbolically carrying away sins in hopes of starting the New Year with a clean slate. After Tach Lich, the night ends with a treat. Apples are then dipped into honey to symbolically represent a sweet new year.
Hillel hosts this event every year with a decent turn-out. All prayers are spoken in Hebrew and the holy day requires to stay away from most electronics. “[This is] a period to take time, in terms of relationships, where you are in life, to make reflections, and make those things right for the New Year. It’s a time to begin afresh,” stated Marley Weiner, a fourth-year rabbinical student and rabbinic intern for Hillel.
Hillel at Temple hosts events for other prominent Jewish holidays as well. In ten days, Hillel plans on organizing another service for Yom Kippur “Day of Atonement.” This holiday is a continuation of Rosh Hashanah because it’s requesting God’s aid for changes that were originally asked during Rosh Hashanah. They are planning to host the fast for Yom Kippur for 25 hours. Other major holidays that the Hillel focus on include Passover during the Spring and Hanukkah in the winter.
Temple maintains a relationship with Hillel and the jewish community. “Temple is supportive. The jewish community is cordial with other organizations [on campus],” commented Weiner. Hillel has helped to maintain the jewish presence and representation on campus and continues to do so.