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HIES Recognizes Jewish High Holidays

Members of the Jewish faith marked the High Holidays starting with Rosh Hashanah on Sunday, Sept. 25, and concluding with the end of Yom Kippur on Wednesday, Oct. 5. This time period, also known as the Ten Days of Repentance, celebrates the Jewish New Year on Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement on Yom Kippur. During this time, Jews participate in special services, rituals and traditions to reflect on their past year and consider what they want to accomplish in the new year.

Katherine Poch '23, spoke about the holidays in Upper School chapel on Thursday, Sept. 29, and gave a reading in Hebrew. Brady Huesken '26 and Will Weaver '24 performed a duet on violins. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, HIES Middle School opened chapel with the singing of “Bashana Haba’ah,” led by Eric Stetson, Middle School and Upper School music teacher. Students and faculty welcomed Rabbi Samantha Trief from Temple Sinai, a reform congregation synagogue located near the HIES campus, to speak in chapel. She shared details about the holiday traditions, such as eating apples and honey to bring a sweet start to the new year, fasting that takes place on Yom Kippur and the time of reflection.

Jews participate in Taschlich, which is a practice in which they throw bread crumbs into a river as a symbol of the sins they want to atone for or something they want to leave behind in the old year. Students were invited to write down a similar thought on dissolvable paper, which they placed in buckets of water outside the church.

Rabbi Trief also demonstrated a shofar, which is a ram's horn that is blown during the Jewish services to celebrate the new year. "The horn jolts us out of our routine so that we start the new year with our eyes open," she said. 

"As an Episcopal school, we are grateful for this opportunity to learn about the traditions of our spiritual and community neighbors, and we share in God’s love that is made known through these holy times," the Rev. David Wagner, Middle School chaplain, said.