High Holidays at Hillel Madeleine Boireau '17
For the third time, I rolled into Lexington with my mother to move into my new home and settle in for what I always expect to be another great year at Washington and Lee. As we said our goodbyes, I automatically began to think about the events that I plan on attending to kick off the school year: O-week, welcome-back barbeques, and the high holidays with Hillel! Then it hits; the realization that I won't be with my family to reel in the New Year. When services start, though, I'm reminded that I do have a family here; it just comes in the form of supportive faculty, community members, and students.
Joan Robins (left) blesses the Torah before Director of Hillel Megan McLean's (center) reading during the Rosh Hashanah Morning Service. Student Rabbi Emily Langowitz (right) helps hold the Torah in place. Photo credit: Laura Wiseman '16
Emily Langowitz, a fourth-year rabbinical student from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, more easily referred to as HUC-JR, came to Lexington to help us lead services. She invested so much time into making the services inclusive of everyone's backgrounds, which makes the holidays that much more enjoyable. For Erev Rosh Hashanah, Hillel hosted a student-only dinner, making this year a little different than prior years when Hillel hosted a community-wide dinner. Since the holidays were so early in the school year, this was a perfect opportunity to meet the new first-years and welcome them to our first school celebration.
Following Rosh Hashanah morning services, Hillel hosted a picnic catered by the E. Café. The weather was great for eating outside, making the New Year that much sweeter. After a quick walk to Woods Creek, Hillel held a Tashlich Service, which really reminded me both how beautiful our campus is and how lucky we really are to be here together.
Ten days later, as a community, we observed Yom Kippur. All Jewish students had the option to be excused from class if they chose to fully observe the holiday. Many VMI cadets and W&L students stayed at the Hillel House throughout the day in order to fast as a community and give each other support. Following a Yizchor Service and Ne'ilah, the whole community broke the fast together with bagels and lox. Some may say that's cliché, but I say it was perfect.