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Jewish Students of Carleton

The Jewish Students of Carleton (JSC) aims to create a cultural, religious and social community for Jewish students through regular Shabbat and holiday services as well as other social events. Shabbat services, one of the main JSC events, are held each Friday in Page East, the Jewish interest house. Shabbat includes religious services, often led by Rabbi Shoshana Dworsky, an Associate Chaplain. Following the religious service, students have an opportunity to socialize over a home-cooked dinner. 

Other events this term have promoted community and raised awareness about issues affecting Jewish communities. Recent events have included an event co-hosted with the Muslim Student Association for the members of each organization to meet and spend time together  and a skating and hot chocolate event for first-years in the JSC to socialize. There was also an event for “Pink Day,” an initiative founded by the non profit Sharsheret that seeks to bring awareness to breast and ovarian cancer. Pink Day involved hearing perspectives from students affected by those forms of cancer and/or the BRCA gene, learning about risk factors for those types of cancer and baking pink challah together. And there is a weekly Torah session hosted by Rabbi Shosh, a tradition that started in 2003 according to a Carletonian article. 

“I like that JSC is a tight knit community; I feel like I know everyone there,” said Baxter Meyer ’25. “Come for services, stay for the mishpacha.”

Abbie Rubin-Pope ’23, a JSC board member, also joined the JSC for social reasons: “I got involved with JSC my freshman year because I was looking for Jewish community on campus, and everyone was so welcoming!”

This Saturday, the JSC and Mosaic of South Asian Interests at Carleton (MOSAIC) will be hosting Purim-Holi, a combined celebration of the holidays of Purim and Holi. The event will include songs, dances, Indian food, hamantaschen and an Aladdin-themed Purim spiel, which is a short play retelling the story of Purim based on the story of Aladdin. 

“I love Purim-Holi because it’s so fun to share Purim with Mosaic and learn about Holi, and they are both such fun and joyful holidays,” said Abbie.

“I’m most excited for the Holi dances!” said Rachel Heilbronner ’22, the JSC Vice President. “I think it’s so awesome that we bring these two holidays together because it gives us such a great opportunity to experience each other’s cultures that we might not normally get.”

“I have been a part of the JSC for 4 years now,” said Ca Flaksberg ’23, the JSC President. “I vividly remember my freshman year, sitting in the Cassat Basement and helping the JSC board members at that time make 300+ Hamantaschen. However, my favorite part was learning so much about other cultures during the actual event. Seeing everyone dance the Horah together was also memorable!” 

The tradition of Purim Holi dates back at least ten years, according to a Carletonian article from 2012 describing the event. 

“Representatives of both faiths will speak on the significance of their respective holidays and will lead the appropriate prayers,”  said the 2012 event description in the Carletonian. “This will be followed by a dinner with foods representing both religions, and by student-led cultural events.” For the most part, the event will be the same as it was in 2012.

“The event is always really successful, people always like it and so we haven’t changed it [since then],” said Ellie Reinhold ’23, a JSC board member.

This will be the first Purim Holi for many students, as last year’s was canceled due to Covid. This year’s Purim Holi will be a “great opportunity to experience each other’s cultures (as well as a perfect study break)” for students, according to an email sent out by the JSC. “In years past, we have had over 200 people in attendance, so we’re looking forward to seeing you all there!”

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