From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, Georgetown’s Jewish Students Association has coordinated with Campus Ministry to provide services as well as meals to break the fast and celebrate. Their most recent event was a Sukkot celebration at the JSA house this Thursday, which was open to all students and faculty.

For over 40 years, the JSA has held weekly Shabbat services and High Holy Day services and provided a community for Jewish students, alumni and faculty. Over the course of its existence, the student-run organization has grown to provide social and cultural events and engage in community service.

JSA strives to provide a religious, cultural and social community for Jewish students on campus. The student-run weekly Shabbat services are held on Friday nights at the JSA house and are followed by a meal provided by Campus Ministry.

Senior Rabbi Harold White leads the High Holy Day services, which are held in Gaston Hall. All services are free of charge and are open to the public.

“It provides a group with which I can experience the same traditions I participated in at home,” Andrew Levine (COL ’11) said.

Throughout the academic year, JSA members raise money for charities through a variety of events and fundraisers. For example, during Yom Kippur, they collect canned goods for D.C. Central Kitchen.

Each year the organization focuses on one community service project. This year they are working with Yachad, a Jewish organization that refurbishes houses for those who are in need. JSA will be raising money for materials throughout the year and then spending time building in the spring.

JSA also coordinates many social events. Both White and JSA President Andrew Dunn (COL ’09) believe that the social aspect of the organization is just as important as the religious aspect. One of the main goals of the organization is to provide a community for Jewish students on campus. In an effort to strengthen its social function, JSA started the year with two social events, a bagel brunch for freshmen and a boat cruise on the Potomac.

JSA has been affected positively by the Jesuit community of Georgetown University. “One of the reasons we are as strong as we are is because of the interfaith community that surrounds us,” Dunn said.

White commented that the organization would most likely not be as strong and prominent if Georgetown were not a religiously affiliated school.

In the future, the organization is looking to expand to a larger space. The population of Jewish students on campus has grown from about 1 percent to between 12 and 14 percent in the time since White first arrived on campus 40 years ago. Dunn said that they are looking for a larger house because the weekly services are often filled to maximum capacity.

The club is closely associated with Campus Ministry, the Jewish fraternity AEPi and the Georgetown Israel Alliance. Jewish Chaplaincy faculty members Deborah Reichmann and Ilan Weinberger help to coordinate JSA events.

Upcoming JSA events include a trip to a Matisyahu concert and a pre-Hanukah party.

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