The Smith College Jewish Community is an inviting and engaged group on campus, and they’re in the midst of hosting an array of events. SCJC recently hosted a special Shabbat service open to all; University of Massachusetts alum Molly Bajgot and special guest Simcha Halpert-Hanson guided the service through music and prayer. Like many Jewish-identified young adults, Molly is an activist. She works as an organizer for the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action in Western Massachusetts. First-years Sarah Biskowitz and Hannah Karp shared poems during the service. Sarah read “Drunk from the Bitter Truth,” by Jewish Russian-American and Yiddish language poet, Anna Margolin. The following is an excerpt from this piece:
“From the dark, the heavy and the hard,
as if in service to a higher command,
I build luminous steps to the sought-after,
dreaming and radiant God.”
Hannah Karp closed the service with a D’Var Tikkun they composed:
“Throughout history, we have been discriminated against, persecuted and murdered. Yet throughout history, we have also organized, transformed ourselves into activists and held ourselves and our world accountable to Tikkun Olam, or healing the world. Against all odds, we have always kept the light of Jewish resistance alive, kept our radical fire burning.”
Hannah went on to acknowledge and applaud the resistance that Jewish-identified Smithies engage in on campus every day; they encouraged all students to attend the Labor Seder that SCJC is hosting in collaboration with the Jewish Labor Committee on April 7th.
Another upcoming SCJC progam, in the CCTV lounge on April 20th at 8pm, is Sculpting Jewish Identity: Open Mic and Art Share!
A number of SCJC students will be attending the annual J-Street conference in Washington D.C. in April. J-Street is a liberal advocacy group in communities and campuses across the United States, comprised of many young Jewish-identified activists; the conference will coincide with the organization’s 10th anniversary. Confirmed speakers include Former Associate Director of Public Engagement for the Obama Administration Matt Nosanchuk; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; and Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace Peter Beinart. The organization’s mission statement reads: “J-Street organizes and mobilizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.” Click here to read more about J-Street’s principles.
Our faith-based identities and our activist identities are too often deemed separate. The Smith College Jewish Community challenges that assumption as they blaze forth, and, in Hannah Karp’s words, “keep the flames of radical struggle burning for the generations to come.”