Brian’s Blog

A monthly update of the Hillel Community brought to you by our illustrious director, Brian Mitchell. Did you know he used to manage a bar on Beale Street? Neither did we.

Beginning of the New Year: At Mizzou and for Jews

I have always liked this time of year, particularly being on a college campus.  The city of Columbia, Missouri has a new energy and feel to it now that the student body has returned to town.  Mizzou’s campus is now alive with activity and has a freshness that was certainly missing during the summer. But, what makes this beginning even more meaningful is that the High Holy Days and the start of the year 5773 on the Jewish calendar coincide with the start of the academic year.  Both of these beginnings bring a time for reflection and a chance for renewal.  It gives everyone the opportunity to start over again, think about what went right or wrong the previous year, and make any corrections or additions for the year to come.

It seems the High Holy Days remind most Jews that they are, in fact, Jewish.  I am sure if I were to ask a room full of Jewish students when was the only time growing up that they went to temple, a majority of them would probably reply “The High Holy Days of course.”  What these days should remind us all is that it is up to us to find ways to observe, practice or learn Judaism. Simply “calling” ourselves a Jew is not enough.  We must all go out and “be” Jewish in our own ways.

What’s great about being on a college campus like Mizzou’s, that has a vibrant Hillel, is the amount of opportunities one has to go out and “Be” Jewish.  Students can be a part of the Jewish Student Organization (JSO) and help plan and run one of the many events that are put on. Students can apply to go on a free 10 day trip to Israel to finally see a country they have only learned about and seen on TV.  Students can celebrate all Jewish holidays at the Hillel building every week or month.  Students can stop by the Hillel building before, in between or after classes, and surround themselves with other students who share one major thing in common; being Jewish.

As we start the school year and the Jewish New Year, I want everyone to think about ways they can “be” Jewish this upcoming year. And know that everyone will always have a place they can feel comfortable “being” Jewish at Hillel. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu.

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