For the first time in six years, Jewish students at the University of Colorado Boulder will have the opportunity to go to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services on campus.
Sponsored by CU Boulder Hillel, one of two Jewish student groups on campus, the services are open to all CU students and faculty members. They will be led by Rabbi Don Levy, a retired Reform rabbi and U.S. Air Force chaplain who currently lives in Israel. Students do not need to make reservations or pay any dues to attend the services, said Linda Lowenstein, campus director at Hillel. She encouraged Jewish faculty members to attend the services as well.
Hillel had services on campus in the past, but since 2011 they have been discontinued. Lowenstein said she is glad to start the services back up, as it allows Jewish students a chance to worship with their Hillel community and to stay connected to their faith while they are at college.
The first service will mark the beginning of Rosh Hashanah at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Old Main Chapel. During services the shofar, an instrument made out of a ram’s horn, is blown to mark the start of the new year.
The following day there will be a service in the morning as well as a Rosh Hashanah Seder in the evening, a Sephardic tradition that will be a new experience for most participants. On Friday, Rabbi Levy will lead an alternative service at Chautauqua Park. The majority of services will be held at the Old Main Chapel or the Hillel building at CU, and a full list of events can be found on the Hillel website.
The two days, known collectively as the High Holidays or High Holy Days, are two of the most important events in the Jewish religion. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, celebrated from Sept. 20 through the evening of Friday, Sept. 22.
Yom Kippur, or the “Day of Atonement,” comes 10 days after Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of Friday, Sept. 29. Traditionally it is a somber day, where Jews fast and ask for forgiveness for sins committed during the past year.
“The main theme is renewal,” Rabbi Levy said about the holidays. “Once a year, we are challenged to look in the mirror and decide if we like what we see. It’s all about deciding what kind of person we’d like to be, what kind of a life we’d like to have, what kind of year we want to create for ourselves.”
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