Image from a previous Hillel of Metro Detroit event.
Image from a previous Hillel of Metro Detroit event. (Hillel of Metro Detroit)

As of Aug. 26, here is what each campus will be doing for the High Holidays and weekly Shabbat Meals.

High vaccination rates across Michigan are bringing campus life back in major college towns such as Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Detroit.

As of Aug. 26, here is what each campus will be doing for the High Holidays and weekly Shabbat Meals (All plans are subject to change based on the local and campus health guidelines).

Michigan State University

MSU Hillel made the difficult choice to allow students to attend in-person meals for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Both holidays will span across two days each, including the erev celebrations (eve of the holidays).

MSU Hillel will not be holding services on location due to the concerns of COVID-19. Instead, Hillel will provide numerous options for students to engage in services. For this High Holiday cycle, MSU Hillel is working with several synagogues around Metro Detroit as well as in East Lansing so that if a student is looking for a service option, they can get connected with them at no charge.

MSU Hillel Assistant Director Nate Strauss said most students they will likely decide on a virtual option so they can continue classes. “We’ll also have the connection with the East Lansing synagogues to be able to offer an in-person option.”

MSU Hillel is accepting that “we are going to trust our students that they are abiding by the university’s expectations and requirements that students are vaccinated,” said Strauss. “We have no reason not to trust them,” said Strauss.

Most events (weather permitting) will be held outside for welcome week and the first couple weeks of school. For events and activities held inside MSU Hillel’s Lewis and Jewell Morris Center, students must wear masks at all times, except for when they are sitting down at a table to study, eat or drink.

All High Holiday events are planned to be held outside unless there is unbearable weather. “If it’s going to rain or be too hot, we will move [events] inside,” said Strauss. “The building has been completely outfitted with state-of-the-art air filtration systems, so we feel very confident that if students were to come in our building … they would be OK.”

MSU Hillel will continue to closely monitor and re-evaluate the indoor and outdoor requirements for students based on the current COVID-19 situation on campus.

For more info, visit https://www.msuhillel.org/highholidays. To register for MSU Hillel High Holiday meals, visit https://msuhillel.wufoo.com/forms/msu-hillel-event-rsvp-form. All questions can be answered by emailing hillelspartan@gmail.org.

University of Michigan

Michigan Hillel is excited to welcome students to in-person, online, group, and individual experiences this year. It will have four service options in-person: Orthodox, Conservative traditional, Conservative highlights and Reform, with Reform services live-streamed. Students will also be able to join for meals in-person at UM Hillel or Zoom in with family from their apartments.

Students may also participate in outdoor alternative programs, such as the Last Call Shofar Blowing and Tashlich in the Arb. Additionally, UM Hillel will continue to support the Shabbat in the Home program, reimbursing students who choose to cook for themselves.

The University of Michigan’s ResponsiBLUE app records the vaccination status of students and staff. Hillel will ask to see the students’ app, which will give Hillel access to both their daily health screening and their vaccination status. For students who do not use technology on the Holidays, they will be asked for their vaccination status when they register online in advance, and they will be asked screening questions at the door.

The seating will be more spread out with group and individual seating options at services, and tables for meals will seat six students rather than 10.

For additional information on Michigan Hillel’s High Holiday programming, visit michiganhillel.org/students/highholidays/. For more information about the Michigan Hillel host-at-home program, visit michiganhillel.org/hostathome/.

All questions can be answered by emailing michiganhillel@umich.edu.

Hillel of Metro Detroit

Hillel of Metro Detroit encompasses six campuses “and while most have vaccine mandates, not all of them do,” said Hillel of Metro Detroit Executive Director Miriam Starkman.

Oakland University implemented its vaccination mandate this week after the FDA gave final approval to the COVID-19 vaccine. Before the approval by the FDA, the mandate was only for people living on campus. Oakland’s vaccination policy is unlikely to take full effect until after the High Holidays.

At the moment, all six schools have mask requirements indoors. Each school has different gathering rules for students. Starkman said the gathering rules will determine which students will be able to gather based on their vaccination status and how the capacities will be coordinated within each campus.

From a sukkot event hosted by Hillel of Metro Detroit.
From a sukkot event hosted by Hillel of Metro Detroit. Hillel of Metro Detroit

The schools under the Hillel of Metro Detroit umbrella that do not have a vaccination requirement include Oakland Community College and Lawrence Tech University. OCC has yet to come out with a definitive stance on vaccination status. Lawrence Tech is recommending all students be vaccinated but is not currently requiring students to be vaccinated.

Starkman said most students are from Metro Detroit, besides the medical students, and will be going home for services. “If students need tickets to get into synagogues, we can help make that happen,” she said.

In past years, Hillel of Metro Detroit offered hospitality for students who are not able to go home; however, due to COVID-19 concerns, Hillel will be providing students with High Holiday bags, which will include meals, snacks and supplements to go. All students, regardless of where they will be spending the High Holidays, are eligible for a bag.

At some universities, Hillel of Metro Detroit will offer outdoor activities that students can participate in. Wayne State University will hold a Rosh Hashanah apple picking at a local orchard, whereas Oakland University will host a picnic in the sukkah.

“We are doing some [Shabbat] dinners,” Starkman said, “and because most of our schools require vaccination … any event that we’re doing as of right now requires pre-registration and proof of vaccination to participate.”

For indoor events, Hillel plans to make sure they “will have enough capacity to allow for social distancing for anything indoors,” said Starkman.

“If we learned anything over the last year and a half, it’s that we are going to have to adapt and modify as necessary and as circumstances dictate,” Starkman said.

For school-specific information for Hillel of Metro Detroit programs, visit https://www.hillel-detroit.org/ then click on the school’s name.

Hillel International

From Reverse Tashlich beach clean-ups to live-streamed and in-person musical services, Hillel International’s Higher Holidays offers Jewish college students on campuses of all sizes, and anyone interested, a wide range of interactive opportunities to reflect, pray and connect during the High Holidays. The programming will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 1, with a Festival Launch Party featuring actor Josh Peck and other special guests.

With strategic and adaptive planning, Hillel International is prepared to safely deliver diverse and engaging events, such as a calligraphy workshop, despite the Delta variant and changes in health and campus protocols.

A full list of Higher Holidays programming and local campus events are available here: https://link.evo4it.com/u/1163e097/UnQRGmEK7BGgD_cK0S6LPw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.higherholidays.org%2F

 

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