Away for the High Holidays

haveuheard away high holidays holiday

Celebrate High Holidays with a New Community

Generally, students will go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for those who celebrate the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, you may choose to stay at IU. While it may feel strange at first to not celebrate with family and stay at school, celebrating the holidays with a new community of peers can be the start of new traditions.

Not all colleges give days off for every holiday and it doesn’t look like IU is any different. Students can certainly inform their professors, in advance, of their absence for the high holiday, but chances are class will go on and they will be responsible for any work; and unfortunately, some professors will penalize them for an absence. Even if students do get a day or two off, it is not always enough time to travel back home. This is another reason it is nice to know that there is a place for students to go even if just for a festive meal. There are services too; there are even sukkahs on Sukkot.

Yom Kippur, the holiday when people can repent for their sins and fast can be difficult at school, but this year it falls on a Sunday and that will make it easier for students to participate. However, depending on your family beliefs, sticking to family tradition is possible.

Students can enjoy and celebrate the holidays with their on-campus community. The IU Hillel will hold Rosh Hashanah services, dinner, and pre-Yom Kippur dinner and learn about good deeds in the Sukkah. The Hillel also has weekly activities for Jewish students; a favorite being Shabbat dinner followed by an evening service. Per Indiana University’s requirements for social gatherings because of COVID, Hillel will have in-person and virtual options. Students are recommended to do whatever they feel comfortable with.

The IU Chabad also has an entire schedule for the High Holidays and the New Year. Some may feel the Chabad is far more religious than they are accustomed to, but students have said that they are very welcoming. The Chabad will be having high holidays in person with CDC guidelines, or students are welcome to celebrate with their to-go options as long as you RSVP.

Whether students choose Hillel or Chabad, it is good to know there is a welcoming Jewish community for students when being away from family for holidays where students can indulge in the customary prayers and participate in traditions like dipping an apple in honey to symbolize this request for the year to come or breaking the fast with bagels and lox. There is no charge to attend either one, but they do accept donations and an offering if you feel led to give monetarily.

The dates for this year’s holidays:

  • Rosh Hashanah-  9/18-9/20
  • Yom Kippur- 9/27-9/28
  • Sukkot- 10/2-10/9
  • Simchat Torah- 10/10-10/11

If a student’s parents are in the mood to send some yummy treats to their students, there are delivery services that can deliver a treat of your choice. Check out our blog on delivery services in Bloomington. Or consider ordering a prepared care package. Somehow sending a care package as a gentle reminder of the holiday may push them towards the Hillel or Chabad a bit faster. We like Challah Connection.

While in college, away from familial control, it’ll be extremely difficult to follow the fasting rule or go to synagogue at all. However, as students begin their new and independent lives, this too is part of the learning process. Just remember, even if students choose to skip what is the norm for your family while away at school, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are abandoning all that their families taught them throughout their childhood.

Happy New Year!

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2020-10-02T14:58:36-04:000 Comments

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