Written by: Jacob Brickman
All month, Jews around the world and at Western University have been busy celebrating and observing the High Holidays, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. Hillel has been one of the few places in London to offer students a sukkah to eat and ‘dwell’ in and a feast of good food as we prepared to fast. But one event this October stands out as truly unique and new in this community; Hillel Western’s Yom Kippur Morning Services.
This event started as a passing thought, put forward by a student who wouldn’t be able to make it home for Yom Kippur. They wanted a service and experience for the day that wasn’t being offered in the community for students. It snowballed into a small committee of students planning the content, the feel, and the logistics of putting on a service on the holiest day of our calendar.
All four of the students responsible for making this service came together for a cohesive, meaningful experience, and all the wonderful staff who aided us along the way, coming from completely different Jewish experiences, denominations, and traditions. Deciding that it should be egalitarian and traditional seemed to be what most people were interested in and what we felt most comfortable with. In the end, this small service on a very big day represents the entire point of Hillel itself.
When Jewish students from wildly different backgrounds come together to fulfill an apparent need and passion, Hillel is the place which can support that and manifest the idea into being. Hopefully, as Hillel becomes a place that offers students the opportunity to lead an alternative, student-led, egalitarian service on days like Yom Kippur, more people will be willing to give input, plan, and share what would make it most meaningful for them.
שנה טובה ומתוקה – Shanah Tovah Umetukah