Hillel observes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur this month

Emily Fulmer

This month, Kent State’s Hillel is observing the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with students and faculty.

The High Holidays are celebrated to mark the new year and Judaism. This year’s celebration marked the year 5777 in the Jewish calendar, which is a lunar calendar.

The High Holidays span throughout a period of 10 days, known as the 10 Days of Repentance.

The Ten Days of Repentance begin with Rosh Hashanah, a two-day celebration of the new year, and end with Yom Kippur.

This year, Rosh Hashanah was held last Sunday, and ended on last Tuesday evening. Yom Kippur will be observed on Wednesday.

Harvey Sass, Hillel’s interim executive director, said the High Holidays are a period of reflection, atonement and prayer.

“We reflect on the past year, we pray for atonement and forgiveness, and we set our sights on proving ourselves in the new year,” Sass said.“It’s special because they are the holiest days on our calendar.”

On Yom Kippur, which is the final day, they fast for 24 hours.

Each year during the High Holidays, Hillel holds services to provide traditional holiday meals for the members of the community.

Along with services and meals, there are various other activities that students participate in to celebrate the holiday.

Adam Hirsh, Hillel’s assistant director, said on the first day of Rosh Hashanah students embark on a Tashlich hike.

“It’s a hike that is very traditional in the Jewish religion,” Hirsh said. “You walk to a body of water and you throw your sins in the form of bread or something else into the water.”

Hirsh said Rabbi Lee, the campus rabbi, took students on this hike to the Cuyahoga River to ask for forgiveness and reflect upon the past year.

Hirsh also said Hillel makes an effort to spread the word about the holidays to the entire campus.

“We were tabling outside the M.A.C. Center (and) hand(ed) out candy for a sweet new year,” Hirsh said. “It’s one of the sentiments we try to share with everyone, to have a sweet new year.”

Along with passing out candy, Hirsh said students would hand out simple facts to other students for how they can celebrate the holidays in their own way.

On the night of Yom Kippur, Hirsh said a meal is held for students, followed by the Kol Nidre service with the forgiveness prayer and a talk about any sins and transgressions.

Hirsh said on the day of Yom Kippur, both daytime and evening services are held. The building is open all day for students to fast together before it ends at sundown.

Emily Fulmer is a religion reporter, contact her at [email protected]