Jewish students celebrate the New Year

Haley Keding

Rosh Hashanah is a time for Jewish students like Natalie Schafer, a junior psychology major and community building fellow at Hillel, to reflect on the past 12 months and think about when she felt distant from God.

“Rosh Hashanah is a holiday about the connection between us and God,” Schafer said. “It speaks of the disconnect that forms between people and between God. We are trying to remove that disconnect.”

In order to reconnect, Schafer and other Jewish students set moral goals for the coming year.

“My goal is to act within my self interest as much as possible,” Schafer said. “I’m a very compassionate person and a lot of times I put others before myself.”

Hana Barkowitz, a freshman public relations major and one of the engagement fellows at Hillel, said she wants to focus on disciplinary goals like reciting a shortened version of Birkat Hamazon, a post meal prayer.

“I hope I’ll stick with it,” Barkowitz said. “It’s hard, especially after transitioning to college.”

Barkowitz will celebrate Rosh Hashanah without her family for the first time this year.

She said she is excited for the holiday because she remembers the environment it created in her synagogue.

“When I went to services back home, everyone was so happy,” Barkowitz said. “I love going to services.”

The Cohn Jewish Center will host services Sept. 24 from 6-9 p.m. and Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for students like Barkowtiz who want to celebrate on campus.  

Mimi Raizen, a second year theater performance major and community building fellow at Hillel, said she looks forward to the special food served during Rosh Hashanah.

“I’d be lying if I said otherwise; I really like the apples and honey,” Raizen said.

Apples dipped in honey are a common dish and symbolize a sweet New Year.

Another traditional dish, challah, is a type of bread that is usually braided, but on Rosh Hashanah, is circular to represent a smooth New Year. 

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holidays. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins eight days later and has a more somber mood compared with the joyful mood of Rosh Hashanah.

Contact Haley Keding at [email protected].