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Jewish community observes new year

Published: Monday, September 17, 2012

Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 00:09

Rosh Hashana

Jessica Smarr

The flame passes from one set of slender fingers to another, each candle blessed with light, as a rough and beautiful tongue bids the new year a welcome.

Members of the Jewish community gathered Sunday at the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashana is a two-day holiday to celebrate creation.

The Chabad is under the direction of Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff and his wife Manya Lazaroff. Yossi said the purpose of the Chabad is to serve students at A&M.

explained the purpose of the Chabad.

“We cater to the students here at Texas A&M specifically,” Yossi said. “Our goal is to provide a home away from home for students, a place where they can come and tap into their Jewish identity.”

Yossi said the center’s doors are open to every student on campus and 50-70 students regularly attend the services and events that are held throughout the week. He said the Chabad places great emphasis on constructing a community.

“We try to be their family here at Texas A&M,” Yossi said.

Yossi said the holy day represents a new beginning to the Jewish people.

“This begins a period of time called the ten days of atonement, Rosh Hashana, the tenth day which is Yom Kippur,” Yossi said. “During this time we look back at our previous year and we see perhaps where we could find some correction and we look at our upcoming year and we try to correct it.”

Rosh Hashana is about the forgiveness of the past, but also ushering in the future. Manya said the holiday had an energy of retreat. Many members of the community will be disconnected from the world outside. Manya said this is more important than ever in the age of communication. She said Rosh Hashana is a time to focus on community and family.

“It’s a special blessing,” Manya said.

Students Franceska Flax and Evy Brown, who have been immersed in the Jewish religion their entire lives, said they welcomed the beginning of something new.

“It’s the celebration of the new year,” said Flax, a sophomore animal science major. “You let go of everything that happened this year and you want to welcome this new year in a sweet and vibrant way.”

Brown, a junior civil engineering major, echoed Manya’s sentiment that Rosh Hashana was a time to spend with those who you cared for.

“It’s about opening up your eyes to almost a new start, a new beginning,” Brown said. “It’s a time to spend with friends and family and to appreciate where you are right now and to be together with other people.”


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