A Beginner’s Guide to: Yom Kippur

Listen up, Goyim! If you don’t know what a Goy is, you’re probably a Goy. It means non-Jew (not in like, an offensive way). Saturday, somewhere between a fifth and a third of Brown is going to be apologizing for a year’s worth of misdeeds. Why? It’s the holiest day of the year. A culmination of 365 days of Jewish guilt. It’s Yom Kippur, bitches, and here are three things you need to know.

Above: What I'm apologizing for

Above: What I’m apologizing for

1. Yom Kippur is the second of two High Holy Days. The first High Holy Day was a week ago. It’s called Rosh Hashana and it’s the Jewish New Year. Jews ring in the New Year with the equivalent of the ball dropping: spending an entire day in temple. Then we eat apples and honey so we have a “sweet” new year. It’s a centuries-old word-play based snack. The year is currently 5775. HAPPY JEWISH PALINDROME YEAR. 

2. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. We spend the whole day in temple apologizing for all the shit we did in 5774. What snacks do Jews eat on Yom Kippur? Nothing, is the answer. We fast. The only way to prove we’re REALLY sorry for being mean to our brother and killing that spider is by denying ourself sustenance. It’s a small price to pay for the trillion other food-centered holidays Jews have for really obscure reasons.

Tu B'Av is like Jewish Valentine's Day, but we dance to celebrate grapes because wine.

Tu B’Av is like Jewish Valentine’s Day, but we dance to celebrate grapes (because wine).

3. Your Jewish friends might be observing the fast. That means sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, we can’t eat or drink. If you are not Jewish, that means tread lightly. We will be hangry like you wouldn’t believe. Some of us won’t even be drinking water. We will be cranky. I hit and yell (but I also do that on regular days). If we get hungry, we might bite. So don’t eat that Blue Room muffin in front of us. Or that pasta. Or anything. Stay away, basically. When you stand up straight, your body looks like a pretzel rod, which will make us angry because we can’t eat pretzels. BUT here’s the fun part. The Jews are a welcoming people. When the sun goes down on Saturday, we carbo-load like you can’t imagine and you are totally invited. It’s called break fast (get it, like breakfast? More food wordplay). We eat, like, three days worth of bagels in five minutes. Then we’ll be cranky the rest of the night because of the stomach ache. Happy Yom Kippur. 

If anyone, Jewish or otherwise, is interested in checking out Yom Kippur at Hillel, look here.

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Holocaust survivors teach students a valuable lesson

From left to right: student moderator Jason Nadboy '17, Mrs. Rosaline Granoff, and Ms.

From left to right: student moderator Jason Nadboy ’17, Mrs. Rosaline Granoff, and Ms. Alice Eichenbaum

This year, Yom HaShoah—or Holocaust Remembrance Day—began on Sunday at sundown and ended the following evening. To remember the 11 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, disabled persons, and other individuals who perished during the Holocaust, the Holocaust Initiative of Brown University, the Judaic Studies Department, the History Department, and Brown RISD Hillel hosted their second annual “Surviving the Unthinkable” panel.

The event, which took place on Sunday night in the List Arts Center, featured Alice Eichenbaum and Rosaline Granoff, two women whose lives were deeply affected by the Holocaust. Alice Eichenbaum was in Bulgaria during the war, and her husband was in Auschwitz. Rosaline Granoff’s parents were members of a partisan group that lived in the forests and retaliated against the Nazis.

With each year that passes, the amount of Holocaust survivors and others that can relay first-hand accounts of that time dwindles. Here’s what we took away from the stories of Ms. Eichenbaum and Mrs. Granoff.

Mrs. Granoff spoke about her parents and their unorthodox romance. They were partisans, a group rarely discussed in Holocaust history. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Jewish partisans fought back against the Germans and their allies:

“Imagine being a 21-year-old young woman… in a small town who is left alone in the street in the ghetto, and hears her mother calling out to her as she is headed off to the death camps in a cattle car.” 

Mrs. Granoff’s mother was raised in what we now know as Belarus, where her parents owned a home goods store. In 1939 and 1940, her mother’s relatives were taken away into the Soviet Union. They all “disappeared,” never to be seen again. When their small town was completely demolished, Mrs. Granoff’s mother survived. 6,000 people were killed in that attack.

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A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: “The Prince of Egypt” screening


There are plenty of us who could use a refresher course on the story of Passover. How many plagues were there again? Was one of them a Polar Vortex? Fear not, because tonight, Hillel’s Engagement Internship is hosting a viewing of “The Prince of Egypt,” everyone’s favorite should-be-Disney movie (it’s actually Dreamworks Animation… yes, your entire childhood was a lie.) “The Prince of Egypt” chronicles the life of Moses and the events that Passover commemorates, so if you missed the four questions at your family’s seder this week (or don’t know what that even means), go check out this event on the Main Green at 8:00 pm. The movie is top-notch, and features an Academy Award-winning soundtrack with original songs that will make you kvell. Bring a blanket, because the viewing includes a picnic with free chocolate-covered matzo — need I say more?

A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: Project Dance’s first class

project dance

Project Dance is a student group that wants to “empower individuals through original and energetic dance fitness” classes. They meet on Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Classes run for 50 minutes and are open to people of all levels and ages. Project Dance’s first class is on Tuesday, October 8th at 5 p.m. (note that this is different from its usual class times) and if you “like” Project Dance on Facebook, you get to go to the first class for free!

Project Dance allows you to focus on your fitness all while you’re actively making a difference! Project Dance has two components: dancing, of course; and making the world a better place through its unique charity component. The five-dollar per-class fee will go to the following three charities: Campaign for Female Education, American Jewish World Service’s Gender Campaign, or Women’s Center of Rhode Island. And the coolest part? Each participant chooses to which of the three organizations his or her fee is donated. Now you can dance for 50 minutes, improve your fitness, and donate to charity!  

Classes take place at Brown RISD Hillel (80 Brown Street), and you can find the Facebook event for the first class here.

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Heartbeat concert at Brown RISD Hillel tonight

Everyone loves singing. Everyone also wishes that we could solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Good news is that singing is here to help save the day. Music’s pedigree of helping to solve major crises through musicals — see civil rights and Mormonism — is unmatched, so it may have the strongest résumé of any negotiator currently at the table. Tonight, Brown RISD Hillel Hillel is doing its best to help belt out the first note of a renewed peaceful dialogue by hosting the Heartbeat @ Brown-RISD concert. The event is also sponsored by Common Ground, the Middle East Studies Department, and the Program in Judaic Studies.

According to the event’s Facebook page, the group was founded in 2007 is a “an international non-profit organization uniting musicians, educators, and students to build mutual understanding and transform conflict through the power of music.” Transforming conflict takes time, so it’s a good thing that both Hillel and Heartbeat are patient, as the event has been in the works for two years now. The event, which organizers stress is non-political, will feature songs that blend “traditional and modern Eastern and Western music.” That description seems to run the gamut on global music, which is a good thing: unlike the peace process, the concert should have something that appeals to everyone.

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In case you were too busy to notice, tonight’s the first night of Hanukkah

While you were in your carrel in the library for days on end, it may have seemed as if time stood still. But it became the 15th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which means tonight’s the first night of Hanukkah.

Eight nights of latke eating, dreidel spinning, candle lighting (but not in the dorms, obvi), and a capella singing couldn’t be more welcome during reading period and finals. To bring in the holiday, go to Brown RISD Hillel tonight at 5 p.m. for candle lighting. Continue engaging in the festivities by attending Brown RISD Hillel’s Hanukkah County Fair Carnival tomorrow night from 6:15–9:15 p.m. for carnival games, latkes and popcorn, and live entertainment by various dance and a capella groups.

TL;DR: Go to Hillel between 6:15–9:15 p.m. tomorrow for free food. Enjoy it in the true “we fought, we won, let’s eat” fashion typical of many Jewish holidays. Happy Chhhhhhhanukkah!