The high holidays will have special meaning for many this year as a result of the events of last year, including Sept. 11 and the continuing conflict in Israel and throughout the Middle East. The anniversary for the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon will fall on the sixth day of the High Holy Days.

Paul Wong
LSA junior Bobby Nooromid takes part in a Rosh Hashanah ceremony organized by the University Hillel yesterday on the banks of the Huron River.

Ben Berger, the Berman Fellow at Hillel said he will spend part of the holidays trying to come to grips with the events of the past year.

“The events of last September will be a part of my thought process throughout the week. I will also be thinking about how the world is going to change this year, and how the lives of my friends and family here and in Israel will be affected, and even if they will be alive at year end,” Berger said.

Rosh Hashanah is one of the holiest holidays of the year for people of Jewish faith and ancestry. It commemorates the beginning of the new year on the Jewish calendar, and it also marks the beginning of the 10-day period known as the High Holy Days, which will end with Yom Kippur next Sunday.

“It is a time of introspection, a time to contemplate the past year, what we’ve done, what we’ve been through, all in an attempt to take the positive things with us to the next year and to leave the things that are not beneficial in order to start off the new year in a good way,” Berger said.

Rosh Hashanah came early this year. Celebrations began Friday night, about two weeks earlier than they were last year. As a result of the early beginning to the High Holidays, many more students stayed on campus to celebrate than in past years.

“I didn’t go home for the holidays this year because it was so early in the year that I wanted to stay at school and get my classes straightened out and get prepared for the school year. Instead I went to celebrate Rosh Hashanah dinner with my friend and his family in West Bloomfield, Michigan,” said LSA junior Matt Silverman, a Chicago native.

Some students also celebrated the new year in Ann Arbor with friends from school. Rachael Dobbs, an LSA senior, stayed at home and cooked a traditional meal for her roommates and her friends. The meal consisted of matzah ball soup, challah bread and apple slices dipped in honey, to signify the beginning of a sweet new year.

Many students who were unable to travel home for the holidays celebrated at the University of Michigan Hillel.

“Our mission at Hillel is to create a warm community for students, and to give students a meaningful experience for the holidays,” said LSA senior Eric Bukstein.

One of the traditional ceremony’s for Rosh Hashanah is the taschlich, the throwing of bread into a river, which is done on the second evening after Rosh Hashanah. The bread crumbs are symbolic of sins, of the things that are not positive about the last year and by casting them away, it is a way to get over them, and to start the new year on a positive note.

About thirty students participated in this ceremony yesterday evening . They threw the bread crumbs into the Huron River, on a spot in the Arboretum behind Markley Hall.

Services are offered at Hillel throughout the week and all students are welcome.

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