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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MU begins celebration of Jewish High Holidays

Photo by Katie Craig

Bourekas, lekach and apples dipped in honey were a few of the traditional Jewish desserts served last week in Jewish households across the world for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish celebration of the liturgical new year. The sweet tasting food reflects the positive hopes one must carry into the new year.  

Rosh Hashanah, the first celebration of the Jewish new year, began the evening of Sept. 25 and ended the evening of Sept. 27, kicking off the Jewish High Holiday season. Throughout the month of October, a variety of traditional Jewish holidays will also take place, such as Yom Kippur, a day of atonement, and Sukkot, a time for giving thanks. 

Jane Blossom, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, is chair of culture and religion of Marquette’s Jewish Student Union as well as the life and learning chair for Hillel Milwaukee.  

Hillel Milwaukee is a non-profit organization that aims to create a welcoming community for students and young adults interested in exploring the Jewish culture. Marquette’s JSU on campus is also hosting a variety of events throughout the Jewish High Holidays this month. 

Blossom said she joined the JSU her first year at Marquette and has grown fond of the community, as it gives her a place to celebrate holidays that Marquette does not recognize as a Jesuit institution. This often is a bummer to Blossom.  

“It is hard to find Jewish students and connect with them, it’s nice because our faith is something that we all have in common,” Blossom said. “I have made so many friends, which is so eye opening because you would never think that there are as many Jewish students on campus as there are.” 

Since becoming involved with Hillel and JSU, Blossom said she has come to know herself better. 

“I have become more spiritual and less religious,” Blossom said. “These two organizations let me learn more about my own faith and allow me to define what being Jewish means to me.” 

Blossom comes from a multi-cultural and religious background, with her mom’s side of the family being Jewish and her dad’s side being Episcopalian.  

“I did not grow up in a Jewish household because my mom never practiced,” Blossom said. “When I came to Marquette, I was looking for that and some sort of connection that I could have within myself.” 

Anna Goldstein Koenig, assistant director at Hillel Milwaukee, works to plan and host Jewish events and celebrations, so students like Blossom can find cultural connection for themselves. 

“We hosted a musical service that included guitar and singing and prayers on Sunday evening, followed by a dessert and tapas bar,” Koenig said. “You’re supposed to eat a lot of sweet foods on Rosh Hashanah to bring in a sweet new year … like apples dipped in honey and honey cake.” 

The organization offers transportation to different synagogues across the city, Shabbat services, which is the Jewish Sabbath and day of rest, classes for students to grow closer to their faith and community-building events. They will also be building a Sukkah, a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot, but the plan is still underway.  

“I’m just looking forward to seeing a lot of our returning students and new students,” Koenig said. “Being able to bring our students together during the holidays is really important.” 

Last week, Blossom helped to plan Hillel’s Rosh Hashanah services where she said the theme of forgiveness was prevalent. 

“Unlike the American New Year, Rosh Hashanah is more focused on accepting who we were in the past year and how we can improve in the upcoming year,” Blossom said. 

She said one of her personal goals this year is to be less hard on herself, especially when it comes to school. 

“I get so stressed easily and I want to give myself bigger breaks and time to take care of myself,” Blossom said. “I also want to be more open-minded to different people and experiences.” 

Last week, the JSU hosted a Tashlich Tabling, where students are invited to “cast off their sins” as part of entering the new year during Rosh Hashanah.  

Benny Gustafson, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, is also active within JSU and Hillel, and said he enjoys keeping up with his Jewish traditions. 

He said the ten days between Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, which we are currently undergoing now, are his favorite faith-related traditions. 

“Growing up, I would always like the holiday because my extended family would come over, and we would pray together,” Gustafson said. “Praying as a family and eating and cooking together are special memories.” 

Gustafson said Hillel and JSU has given him a place to continue taking part in these traditions. 

“Hillel gives me that sense of community and family while being away at school,” Gustafson said. “It feels like home.” 

This story was written by Skyler Chun and Angelina Galullo. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Angelina Galullo, MUR A&E Audio Producer
Angelina Galullo is a senior at Marquette studying journalism & minoring in digital media. She is originally from downtown Chicago. She is the Arts & Entertainment Audio Producer for MUR. Previously, she has written for the Tribune. She is a Cubs fan and enjoys traveling with her family, especially to Italy where she lived for the past six months. She is looking forward to exploring the food scene in Milwaukee & starting a food review podcast. She can’t wait to grow closer to her coworkers ( and now friends!) at MUR.
Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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