The past couple of months have been extremely busy. With holiday services, events and high carb foods, it’s been an exciting time for Jewish student life.
It was so beautiful seeing the very large number of students – perhaps, the largest yet – attending services, dinners and events for the High Holidays as Jewish students of all levels of observance came together to partake in the multitude of festivities, including Rosh Hashanah services and meals, Yom Kippur pre-fast meal and services, Yom Kippur break-fast meal, Shabbat under the stars, Darbukkah in the Sukkah, Simchat Torah celebrations and much more.
It’s been an engaging start to Jewish student life on campus this new year. But attracting such high attendance to these events was no easy feat with every holiday this year falling on a school or work day. So it was truly heartwarming to see large numbers of students at every event. From services to meals to sukkah decorating and more, it was truly wonderful seeing how many people were eagerly and enthusiastically in attendance. Credit is due to the Chabad Student Network (CSN) for running all services and serving meals during the High Holidays and to Hillel Ottawa for hosting various cultural events pertaining to the holidays.
Although the holidays have wound down, community involvement never ends. Holocaust Education Month takes place in Ottawa in November. This is a very important time, dedicated to education, remembrance and honour, which offers students of all faiths opportunities to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust through various educational programs and events on campus and in the wider community, including listening to testimonies from Holocaust survivors. It serves as a powerful reminder to never forget, and to never allow history to repeat itself.
Holocaust Education Month also serves as a reminder to celebrate and appreciate life, culture and religion. It reminds us to be proud of our Jewish identity and to be our own advocates, standing up for ourselves and representing our people as best we can. It is a time that unites Jewish people of all levels of observance and religiosity, everyone coalescing to honour and remember a tragedy to which we are all connected on some level. It is an opportunity to show our strength, pride and respect in unity.
Ottawa students are invited to take part in Holocaust Education Month programming throughout the city, and there will be a Holocaust Education Week of incredibly compelling and meaningful programs on campus for students. It is sure to be a very moving week, and I look forward to seeing everyone there.
The week will include, but is not limited to, speakers, lunch and learn, a reception, Shabbat dinner, movies, and more. All programming is geared towards enriching one’s knowledge of the Holocaust, strengthening Jewish identity, and appreciating life. Programming for Holocaust Education Week on campus will involve contributions of all Jewish student organizations, a beautiful attribute to this important week.
There isn’t a more appropriate time in the year for Jewish people of all backgrounds and sects to come together. This will be a paramount week for Jewish life, and I highly encourage everyone to take the time out of your busy schedules to take part in whichever activities you can.
I hope everyone had meaningful and heartwarming holidays, and I look forward to seeing you all at future events!