Partying like it’s 5771!


Rebecca Wilson via Flickr

Jews spend all day eating special foods and praying with friends and family.

Leah Fleischer, Staff Writer

Officially Rosh Hashanah begins on September 29but many Jews will still be celebrating on Monday, the 30th. Out of the three campuses Montgomery College, Rockville has by far the largest Jewish population. According to, Judaism is a religion whose scripture is the Hebrew Bible and Tanakh which does not include the writings of the new testament. Rosh Hashanah is a holiday that kicks off the year on the solar-lunar calendar. Jews spend all day eating special foods and praying with friends and family. It is a new year, and for many, this includes special traditions like the Yizkor service. Montgomery College Student Nathan Weiss says, “Some customs on Rosh Hashanah include apples and honey. Challah.  Bread with raisins. It’s a round braided bread.” Along with another student Yehuda Abrams adding, “Special clothes. Taking off school. Not working. We need to separate it from other days because it is so special.” It’s a new start to the year. We’re beginning again.

First-year Montgomery College student, Yehuda Abrams, sums it up as, “They see the kippah and the tzitzit and it makes them curious. I stand out. Luckily they are tolerant of me and give me the work to make up later.” For other students, it is not as easy. According to Abrams, “My teachers will give me the powerpoint for what I missed and one teacher even let me retake a test in the Assessment Center. She didn’t have to. But in generalit’s kind of hard. I have to work very hard not to fall behind.” The disability office states that students must alert their teachers in advance of their need for services and cannot penalize students if they miss an exam. Professors, the office says you cannot give a student a failing grade or forbid them from retaking an exam if they are absent due to a religious holiday.

According to Abrams, one time a teacher gave them a hard time. But he allowed him to make it up. You have to tell your teachers in advance. Another student told me that while taking off was stressful, to him the religious commitment was more important.

Talking with students about Rosh Hashanah and having another Jew as an audience was an amusing experience The customs often seem so obvious so we generally don’t explain them.  According to MC student Nathan Weiss, It’s a real spiritual experience that we generally separate the new year from other days.” You dress because it’s not a normal day,” says Abrams. Whatever the attitude many raptors this week will be catching up after the holidays. It may be more of a busy time so If you see a one in the hall, wish them a Shannah Tovah. Happy 5780 and Lehitraot folks!

Charles Barilleaux via Flickr
Challah is a round braided bread with raisins.