Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is one of most widely observed Jewish holidays and the second of the Jewish High Holidays. It is a day of singular focus on self-improvement. Over the course of the day, we reflect on the previous year and look forward to the year to come. We think of ways to enhance ourselves, our families, and our communities. Many people demonstrate the importance of this day by fasting and praying.
The high holidays are traditionally associated with a strong emotional tie to family and community. Hillels strive to provide opportunities on campus for Jewish students to create a meaningful Yom Kippur experience while away from home.
Many Hillels offer a variety of Yom Kippur services and meals to break the fast, either on or close to campus or provide information for nearby synagogues hosting services. Services on campus, are typically open to all students, university faculty and staff and community members, and are often led by students. Depending on the university, students can choose from a range of different services.
Making the High Holidays Memorable
St. Louis Hillel at Washington University invited university professors to give sermons during Yom Kippur services so students could see how their role models are involved in Jewish life on campus. They also invited a well-known spoken word poetry group so they could perform some of their relevant poems during services.
On other campuses, students plan break the fast events for different groups of students on campus. A student-run breaking of the fast at University of Maryland Hillel gave back to the local community by encouraging students to donate canned food items in lieu of the cost for the meal.
To learn more about specific Yom Kippur offerings on your campus, visit their college guide listing.