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UM To Host Communitywide Rosh Hashanah Services

The UM Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Oxford will host Rosh Hashanah observances of the Jewish New Year in two services at Paris-Yates Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Oxford will host the first local Rosh Hashanah observances of the Jewish New Year in a long time, if not the first ever, this week.
The holiday, which celebrates the Jewish New Year, is the beginning of a 10-day period of reflection culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Maya Glasser, a student rabbi from New York’s Hebrew Union College, will lead two services at Paris-Yates Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 20) and 9:30 a.m. Thursday (Sept. 21).
“Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are considered the holiest days on the Jewish calendar,” said Richard Gershon, UM law professor and spokesman for the Jewish Federation of Oxford. “The new year brings us the opportunity for a fresh start through repentance, prayer and charity.”
The holiday is observed as the birthday of universe, the day God created Adam and Eve, which is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. 
The first two days of Rosh Hashanah are called Tishrei 1, which begins Wednesday at sundown, and Tishrei 2, which is Thursday. Members of the Jewish faith observe Rosh Hashanah with services and candle lighting. A ram’s horn, called a shofar, is sounded at prayer services. 
In prayer, God is asked for peace, prosperity and blessings, and those who practice the faith also acknowledge God as the ruler of the universe.
Historically, many locals who practice the Jewish faith have traveled out of town for Rosh Hashanah services. It’s likely Rosh Hashanah services haven’t been held locally before, organizers said. 
“Synagogues in Memphis and Tupelo have always welcomed UM students to services for the high holidays and for sabbath services, for that matter,” said Jason Solinger, UM associate professor of English and faculty adviser for the university’s Hillel. “But we are fortunate to have such a beautiful chapel on campus, where students can gather closer to home.”
The on-campus event is open to everyone, not just those who practice Judaism.
“We would welcome members of the university and the broader Oxford community who wish to attend,” Gershon said. 
Parking is open for the Wednesday night event, and parking passes will be available for those attending the Thursday service. For more information about the services or parking, email the Jewish Federation of Oxford at oxfordfederation@gmail.com.
By Michael Newsom

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