Jewish organization to celebrate Rosh Hashanah

In another week, Abby Siskand will celebrate the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur by fasting until sundown.

But today, Siskand, a sophomore dance major, will attend services in honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

For Siskand, treasurer of Ball State's local chapter of Hillel, a worldwide Jewish organization for college students, the upcoming holidays are a time to celebrate the religion with other Jews at Ball State.

"Judaism was the basis for Christianity and I think a lot of people forget that," Siskand said. "These holidays are pretty big events for Jews and it's nice for people to learn more about it."

According to the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah will begin at sundown today and last through sundown Saturday, Sept. 7.

Today's Jewish New Year marks the beginning of Tishri, which falls during September and October and includes 13 days of special religious significance -- seven during which work is not permitted.

Sherry Kloss, professor of music performance and Hillel's faculty advisor, said now is traditionally the holiest time of year for Jews.

"As we go into the holidays, we enter with a feeling of faith and hope," Kloss said. "We use the days of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur as a time (to reflect)."

Following Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur will begin at sundown on Sept. 15.

The major theme of Yom Kippur is atonement, according to the Hillel Web site. The requirement to "practice self-denial" is interpreted in Jewish scripture to mean the following five prohibitions: eating, drinking, bathing, sexual relations, using bath oils and lotions and wearing leather shoes.

Siskend said she will celebrate the holy day by attending services.

"It's hard to miss classes but it's important to attend," Siskend said. "Some members of Hillel will be going home, but others plan on attending Yom Kippur services here at school."

With more than 20 students involved with the organization, Siskend said the group, which meets once every 2 weeks, often attend such services together.

Tonight, a group will worship together at Rosh Hashanah services at the Temple Beth El, 525 W. Jackson, at 8 p.m. A second service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m.

The temple will also host a special Yom Kippur service called "Kol Nidre," meaning 'all vows,' on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. Other Yom Kippur services will be held on Monday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m, followed with a 'breaking of the fast' meal in the evening.

Tonight's evening celebration for Rosh Hashanah will also feature the blowing of the shofar, a hollowed out ram horn used to welcome the new year.

"It may not seem as big a deal as the traditional New Year, but it's important to us," Siskend said of today's holiday. "The same idea of starting over and setting new goals for yourself still applies."


More from The Daily

Loading Recent Classifieds...