Students adjust plans to observe Rosh Hashanah away from home

April Samuelson

It’s New Year’s for Jewish students, but many can’t go home.

Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown, and students are adjusting their plans for the holiday. The first of the High Holy days on the Jewish calendar, it is traditionally celebrated with religious services and family and friends, but for many students, going home to celebrate is not an option.

Junior English major David Sugerman originally planned on spending Rosh Hashanah with his grandfather, but he is spending it in Kent instead.

“My parents don’t particularly mind because I live in Cincinnati,” he said. “At my home synagogue, we have the usual services and all of that, but it’s a long drive, and it’s difficult to get over there.”

Some students have given up on celebrating the holiday all together.

“I’m actually going to Cedar Point for my fraternity for a fundraiser,” senior marketing major Ari Fleeman said. “We are working there. I kind of got suckered into it.”

Fleeman said it has been a change from what he was used to doing for Rosh Hashanah while he was growing up.

“Usually I would go to temple and go to my grandma’s for a little bit,” Fleeman said. “It’s been an adjustment, – kind of a rough one. I used to try to make it to my grandmother’s for one night, but not anymore.”

Assistant director of Hillel Michael Levinstein said almost every Jewish student has spent at least one of the High Holidays away from his or her family and friends at his or her home synagogues.

“When students are away from home attending college, holiday times that usually are filled with family celebrations may tend to be lonely and boring,” Levinstein said. “Hillel fills that void with student services held conveniently on campus and festive meals at the Hillel building where no one will feel lonely or bored.”

Junior accounting major Sean Turpin is going to all of the Hillel events and then going to the

Fairmount Temple in Beachwood on Sunday for a second day service.

“I have friends who go to Fairmount,” Turpin said. “It is Reformed, and I am Reformed Conservative, and it’s friendly to the LGBQT community.”

Hillel is holding services at 7 p.m. tonight and at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning in Room 317 of the Student Center for any student who can’t go home.

Contact religion reporter April Samuelson at [email protected].