History is being made! The first woman-written Torah scroll made its worldwide debut on campus last week. The Big Easy is getting ready for the biggest onslaught of Jewish college students in its history. Two Hillels have disappeared from the map and students want to know why. And students at two Israeli universities produced must-watch videos from Israeli universities that feature air-guitaring professors, Albert Einstein, underwater camera work, roller ballet and, yes, more. They’ll make you go Gaga.
The Jewish campus community continues to address the emotional and spiritual needs of students on campus in the wake of the suicide of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers. Hillels are taking the lead in creating accepting environments for students of all sexual preferences.
The future is happening now. In Manhattan’s Union Square, typical Sukkahs get a cool, modern makeover. Shabbat in a box is being handed out at the University of Southern California. Traditions are taking on a new twist as Jewish students incorporate interesting ideas to make the holidays more exciting. Jews and Muslims are taking on a modern and mature approach by sharing the holidays with each other.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are holidays for deep reflection, confession and apology. This year, with the High Holy Days coinciding with major college football games, the beginning of the school year and other season-opening activities, students are contemplating what to do when conflicts arise – while university officials, from New York to Tennessee, are making this a season for saying they’re sorry.
Young Jews across the country are leaving the careful watch of their parents this month and returning to their various campuses. For this year’s freshmen, Oreos have always been kosher, McDonald’s has always served bagels, and the Soviet Union is just another chapter in history textbooks.
I stepped out of the airport onto the cobblestone road and gazed out onto the traffic crowding around me. People with their luggage running to get a taxi, tourists asking for directions, businessmen on the phone and lots of noise. I closed my eyes and opened them again. Why was I, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, standing in front of Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany?