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JLA celebrates Rosh Hashanah

By Emma Robinson, Editor-In-Chief

Jewish students at Post celebrated Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, this past week. Post’s newest club, the Jewish Leadership Association (JLA), held an event in Hillwood Commons that every student on campus was encouraged to attend to learn about the holiday on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

JLA’s event coordinator, junior marketing major Daniel Tellerman, was proud of how the event turned out. 

“[The JLA e-board has] all worked so hard over the last year to find our footing and create a space for all students, Jewish or not, that can be as entertaining as it can be educational and spiritual,” he said. “Over 40 students showed up to our Rosh Hashanah dinner, and hearing how much everyone enjoyed the event afterwards really showed me what an opportunity we have to do more things like that in the future.”

Tellerman believes that the best part of the Rosh Hashanah dinner was the community coming together.

“To see people bond over traditions they did growing up, foods they shared, and pieces of Jewish culture that they found interesting put the biggest smile on my face,” Tellerman said. “The Jewish people have been oppressed for thousands of years and kicked out of almost every nation at some point in time, so by our very nature, we are more than just a monotheistic religion. We are a people; we are a culture; and we will continue to prove that we are a community.”

JLA President, junior art therapy major Renee Haimov, has been passionate about the club since starting it in spring 2022. 

“Growing up, I was always in Jewish programs … And it always gave me a sense of my identity. So, going into college and not having that program, I kind of felt alone not knowing if there were other Jews on campus. A lot of my friends were not Jewish, and sometimes I felt left out since my friends don’t practice Judaism,” Haimov said. “It was great to find a group that understands me, so we can have that sense of community. I know a lot of people in JLA are happy to have this community.”

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days, and signifies the “head of the year.” Common practices for those that celebrate Rosh Hashanah include praying in synagogue, personal reflection and hearing or blowing the shofar. 

Haimov further expounded on some of the traditional practices.

“In most of the [Jewish] holidays, you eat salt. On Passover, you dip greens and herbs in salt water. But, Rosh Hashanah is very important because you dip everything in honey, not in salt. This is so that you can have a blessed year,” Haimov said. “It’s a holiday of being happy and enjoying the new year. On Rosh Hashanah, you’re supposed to wear white so that you can start new and bring light into your life.”

Rosh Hashanah began the evening of Sunday, Sept. 25 and ended the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 27. 

Tellerman reflected on his experience celebrating Rosh Hashanah with his family.  

“I grew up in a very reform community, so my family has always been fairly loose with the hyper-religious aspects of Judaism,” Tellerman said. “However, the community and family aspects of my culture are incredibly important to me. On Rosh Hashanah, my parents host our extended family and we all cook traditional Jewish foods for dinner, including my dad’s matzah ball soup that I look forward to having all year. We start by going around the table and reciting a few prayers, explaining the significance of the foods and what they symbolize, and what we can do to make our new year sweeter than the last. After that, we go into the multi course meal and engage in the types of conversations that you’d see in an episode of Seinfeld. Even without its religious foundation, Rosh Hashanah is a beautiful holiday that encourages positivity and kindness for a new year.”

As Rosh Hashanah ends, there are more Jewish holidays and traditions that the JLA looks forward to introducing the Post campus to.

“In the future, we plan to have events that are inclusive for all religious backgrounds, while promoting the values and traditions of Judaism. Here’s some spoilers for future JLA events: Jewish arts and crafts night, Hanukkah party, Matzah-bread house competition, Dave and Busters night, Passover Seder, and our 2nd annual Afikomen hunt,” Tellerman said.

Students interested in joining JLA or attending their bi-weekly meetings are encouraged to join their next general meeting on Oct. 3 at 12:45 p.m. in Hillwood Commons room 108. More information about JLA and upcoming events can be found on their Instagram page @liupostjla.

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