L'Shanah Tovah: High Holidays at W&L Keith Denning '18

The fall season means the leaves begin changing and the weather grows colder, but for the Jewish people, this time of year is even more significant: it's time for the High Holy Days. Students, staff and community members alike donned their tallits and their yarmulkes and headed to the Hillel House on campus for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur-two of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar.

This year, the service was led and organized by a visiting HUC (Hebrew Union College) rabbinical student, Stephanie Crawley, and a first-year student, Jordan Goldstein, who was a regional song leader for her high school youth group. Stephanie and Jordan worked tirelessly in order to make sure that the services went smoothly.

The High Holy Days kicked off with an erev Rosh Hashanah dinner in Evans Dining Hall. Students from W&L, VMI as well as other guests, bonded over apples, sweet honey and a delicious meal. After the dinner, Hillel held a nice evening service. The next morning, songs were sung and prayers were said in order to celebrate the start of a new year. After having a picnic lunch in the E. Café, we all set out to Woods Creek for the Tashlich service.

Ten days later, it was time for Yom Kippur. Before the fasting began, a scrumptious dinner was served followed by the Kol Nidre service. The next morning, over the growling of stomachs, we listened to the beautiful service conducted by Stephanie and Jordan. Yom Kippur was further observed with a Yizchor memorial service and a Ne'ilah service. And then finally, it was time to break the fast with an awesome dinner!

As a first-year, experiencing the High Holy Days was a great way to be introduced to Jewish life at W&L. I decided to ask my fellow classmate, Jordan, what her favorite part about services at W&L were. She said that "It's a really awesome community to lead for... everyone is very supportive and receptive." Even though I greatly miss the services at my hometown synagogue, I truly love the tightknit and intimate service that W&L Hillel provides. I cannot wait until next year!