Jewish students celebrate Rosh Hashanah

Jewish students not offered academic accommodations

Students celebrated Rosh Hashanah from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17.

Jewish students at Queen’s had a vibrant start to the new year, with student clubs and off-campus organizations hosting Rosh Hashanah celebrations.

Students convened for off-campus gatherings to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, this past Friday, and Saturday evening. Events took place at the Beth Israel Synagogue and Otterburn House, courtesy of Hillel Ontario in Kingston.

Chabad Student Centre of Kingston, an organization supporting Jewish young adults in strengthening their connection to their Jewish heritage, offered holiday meals to students off campus this past weekend.

“While most Jewish students returned home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with their families, many weren’t able to make that trip and, as such, required holiday meals and synagogue services,” Yos Tarshish, campus director of Queen’s Hillel, wrote in an email to The Journal.

Tarshish emphasized the limited availability of kosher food options on Queen’s campus, meaning celebratory meals featuring traditional foods such as apples, honey, dates, carrots, and leeks had to be provided off campus.

Observance of a kosher diet includes abstaining from consuming pork and shellfish, and not eating meat and dairy products during the same meal. Animals that are eaten are butchered following kosher customs.

According to Tarshish, Jewish students weren’t offered academic accommodation for Rosh Hashanah from the University because the holiday fell on a weekend early in the semester.

Queen’s religious accommodation policy requires students to inform their professors of religious observances within a week of receiving their syllabi. According to the Queen’s Event Calendar, students observing Rosh Hashanah are entitled to accommodation, and observants can request suspension of work and/or classes.

Some clubs and teams, such as the Queen’s Dance Team, ensured students observing Rosh Hashanah who couldn’t attend in-person tryouts over the weekend could submit their audition via video, Tarshish explained.

Overall, Tarshish is grateful for student clubs’ recognition of the Jewish holiday and for the continuous off-campus support from Beth Israel Synagogue.

“Hillel has had a strong relationship with the Beth Israel congregation since our founding at Queen’s in 1941,” Tarshish said.

Leading up to the holiday weekend, Hillel Ontario in Kingston organized its annual “Jews on a Cruise” boat party, attracting 150 students who came together to celebrate the start of the new year on Sept. 14.

“It was the perfect way to kick off a new year of Jewish student life here in Kingston,” Tarshish said.


Accommodations, hillel, new year, Rosh Hashanah

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