Sept. 26 is the second night of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The holiday marks the start of the High Holy Days season and is celebrated with special foods, gatherings and prayers. 

To celebrate, Rabbi Mendy Minkowitz, director of Chabad Elon Jewish Student Center, hosted a dinner and welcomed Jewish students from across campus into his home. 

Minkowitz said Rosh Hashanah at Elon University unites Jewish students together, allowing for a space  to celebrate when away from home.

Minkowitz said Rosh Hashanah is typically in the fall season, but not always on the same date on the Gregorian calendar. The Jewish calendar follows a lunar cycle, rather than the solar cycle.  

“It's a very community-oriented holiday, even students who may not be so involved year round make a point to try to participate in Rosh Hashanah celebrations,” Minkowitz said. “This is stuff they probably did back home, so besides the religious component, it's also traditionally very community oriented.”

Minkowitz said that Rosh Hashanah this year is even more special because it includes the special biblical occurrence, Hakhel. This happens once every seven years and celebrates the gathering of people within the Jewish faith.

For Minkowitz, the time of togetherness feels extra special. 

“Coming together, especially after two, three years when we couldn't, when it was almost dangerous to, has a whole new meaning and a whole new value to be able to experience the gathering of coming here,” Minkowitz said.

Following Rosh Hashanah is Yom Kippur on Oct. 4 through 5 and Sukkot, a Torah-commanded holiday, is Oct. 9 through 16. 

“It's a very, very joyous time biblically and traditionally in Jewish communities,” Minkowitz said.

Freshman Zach Honig joined Minkowitz and other members of the Elon Jewish community to enjoy a traditional home cooked Jewish meal Sept. 26. 

“It really feels like a second home coming from out of state, especially during the High Holidays,” Honig said. “It makes me feel welcome to be able to come here and have a place to get a great home cooked meal and celebrate Judaism and the New Year.”

For more information on upcoming Chabad celebrations and events, click here