- Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, the beginning of a time of reflection and repentance for the Jewish people. Rosh Hashanah is a time when Jews reflect on their actions and try to make amends with each other and G-d. In synagogue, the shofar is sounded. We eat apples and honey to symbolize a new year pure, happy, and free from past transgressions.
- At the U of R, Hillel offers students the opportunity to celebrate as a community with meals and services. The holiday kicks off with a festive Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner, followed by both Reform and Conservative services. This year, Joel Seligman, President of the U of R, addressed both the Reform and Conservative services on Erev Rosh Hashanah.
- Students organize the Reform and Conservative services, read Torah and call aliyot.
- Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is often considered the holiest day of the Jewish year. This day of fasting, prayer, and introspection begins the evening before with Kol Nidre, a prayer that asks for absolution from vows, and ends with the Neilah prayer.
- At the U of R, Yom Kippur begins with the opportunity for students to gather together for a pre-fast meal. Students themselves chant Kol Nidre, and the following day they come together again for a day of services and communal reflection, often hanging out in the Interfaith Chapel all day, taking naps and playing cards. At the conclusion of Yom Kippur, students gather together for bagels and cream cheese Break Fast.
- Sukkot is a week-long fall festival. The sukkah, the non-permanent outdoor hut, is meant to recall the time the Israelites spent wandering in the desert. Sukkot was also once a holiday of agricultural thanksgiving, and this is celebrated with the holiday's other great ritual items: the lulav and etrog.
- Students erect and decorate a sukkah on campus. A lulav and etrog are kept there for all who wish to participate in the blessings. Students participate in meals inside the sukkah each year.
- Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE, and is celebrated by lighting a hanukkiah, or menorah, for eight days, eating latkes, and playing dreidel.
- At the U of R, Hillel holds nightly candle lighting and holiday activities in Wilson Commons when school is in session. The first night of candle lighting is followed by a Hanukkah party with songs and games, and of course latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).