High Holidays at W&L Hillel Zoe Stein '17

W&L Hillel celebrated the High Holy Days this year under the direction of Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor, a student at Hebrew Union College in New York, and Hillel President Samantha Rosier (‘14). Rabbi Lisa and Sammy worked very hard with students and members of the W&L community to create a very meaningful
holiday service. Over thirty students and community members participated in services by chanting Torah, blowing shofar, or leading a responsive reading.

This year, the first day of Rosh Hashanah fell on what usually is the first day of classes. The university respectfully accommodated the Jewish community and did not hold classes on Thursday, which we certainly appreciated. All High Holy Day services and meals were well attended and included students from
W&L and VMI, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Lexington and Rockbridge communities.

The holidays started with an Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner followed by a brief service. The dinner was held in Evans dining hall and provided a wonderful opportunity for the first year students to acquaint themselves with the Hillel community. The following morningthere was a Rosh Hashanah service where we  sounded the Shofar, as well as a picnic lunch and Tashlich service at Woods Creek.

The next week, we observed Yom Kippur, beginning with a pre-fast dinner and Kol Nidreservice. The service featured W&L orchestra violinist Wonhee Lim, whose lovely version of Kol Nidre definitely set a beautiful tone for the rest of the holiday. To celebrate Yom Kippur, we had a wonderful morning service,
Yizchor service and Ne'ilah in the afternoon, and we followed it up with a break-the-fast that included plenty of bagels and lox to go around!

Along with celebrating the New Year and observing the Day of Atonement, the High Holy Day services and meals gave me, as a first-year student, a great introduction to the W&L Hillel community. I felt very welcome and I was even able to chant a portion of the Torah on Yom Kippur. Hillel is here not only to provide the Jewish community with (great) food and a place to worship; it also affords us the opportunity to connect with people who share our traditions, while enabling us to be leaders within our community.