Hillel House Hosts Rosh Hashanah Dinner

edited.RoshHashanaDinner_ToriZieminski_Dipping of the applesBy Carlee Berkenkemper

Elm Staff Writer

On Monday, Sept. 10, students from varying religious backgrounds participated in the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, at the Roy P. and Nan Ans Hillel House.

The WC Hillel is a student-run organization that aims to support the Jewish community on campus.

The evening started with a blessing led by Hillel President Bradley Melzer, sophomore, during which everyone dipped apples in honey for a happy and sweet new year to come.

During the dinner, everyone sat together at a few tables in the main floor of the Hillel House and dined on grape juice and water, roasted potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, and a chicken dish with many apple-related desserts.

The Hillel House, the white building located between Minta Martin and the Publications House, provides a safe and welcoming gathering center for both Jewish and non-Jewish students, faculty, and staff.

Between the offices, furniture, large kosher kitchen, and lecture space, the Hillel House is arranged to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

“I want it to be an open house for anyone,” Melzer said.

“Anyone (of) any religion can come in — Jewish students especially—I want them to feel comfortable and basically come in and use this house as a home away from home, get away from all the noise, come in and just relax,” he said.

Melzer has been involved with Hillel since his freshman year. As president of the organization, he hopes to conduct more outreach across campus and draw more Jewish students to WC.

The welcoming feel of the community was incredible. As a non-Jewish student myself, Monday night was my first Rosh Hashanah celebration and a wonderful opportunity to connect with peers and meet new people.

Furthermore, I was not the only one experiencing a new religious tradition for the first time.

Fellow freshman Ross Douglas, invited to the celebration by a friend, told the table that he identified with the Christian religion as he struck up conversation with the Jewish students about what this holiday means to them.

Freshman Megan Jenkins said that along with Passover, Rosh Hashanah is one of her favorite holidays.

“I like getting together with my family, and it’s just fun to have everyone together in one room to celebrate a holiday,” she said.

As she talked, she wrote out for me in Hebrew ‘Shanah Tovah U’metukah’, a greeting meaning “good and sweet year.”

“Also, the food is so good,” she said.

Freshman Willa Cohn reflected on the opportunity to embrace the new year.

“To me, Rosh Hashanah means moving forward from all of the dumb…[stuff]…I did last year. Happy new year. That was old me. It’s a fresh new me and she’s better than ever,” she said.

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