A Look at the Jewish Holiday Season – The Orion
The holiday season is in full swing for the local Jewish community, including the Jewish brotherhood, Alpha Epsilon Pi. On September 26, one of three Rosh Hashanah celebrations took place at Chabad House in the heart of the brotherhood’s territory. .
Chabad is an international organization of Orthodox Jews that seeks to educate more people about the Jewish faith. The leader of Chabad in Chico is Rabbi Mendy Zweibel, a soft-spoken and incredibly patient rabbi who opens his house for weekly dinners on Fridays, called Shabbat dinners.
On September 29, fellowship brothers helped Zweibel raise a Sukkah for Sukkot. The Sukkah is a free-standing building with an unattached roof, and it is used for Sukkot, a holiday representing the time when the Jewish people wandered in the desert with only God to comfort them as they moved from Egypt to Israel.
Alpha Epsilon Pi’s brothers helped Zweibel and his family build the structure, as they have done for 10 years. Zweibel has been doing this for 16 years, when he first arrived in Chico.
According to Seth Trachtman, president of Alpha Epsilon Pi and the Chabad Student Club, Chabad is a place where you can learn more about the Orthodox Jewish tradition.
“We try to create a safe space…and have fun! says Trachtman.
If nothing else, everyone involved had a great time. The builders were laughing and joking among themselves while the Zweibel children were running around trying to help. A few hours later, the tired and hungry builders enjoyed a barbecue of burgers and hot dogs after their work was done.
The coming weeks are filled with major Jewish holidays – Yom Kippur on October 4 and 5, where members of the faith go through a 25-hour fast before feasting on the evening of the fifth.
For many it is a time to repent, but for Chana Zweibel, wife of Rabbi Mendy Zweibel, it has a more positive meaning. Instead, she says that everyone has good in their hearts, but sometimes we need a “wake up call” to come back to that good person.
After Yom Kippur, it’s Simchat Torah on the 17th. This event has a much more festive tone than the more serious events that precede it.
“This is where we have a Torah dance party,” Trachtman said.
Outside of traditional events, Trachtman said he plans to hold more events for students. When asked for a schedule, he said to check @jewishchicofam on Instagram for updates. If nothing else, the holiday season is a welcome distraction from the papers and exams students are taking for the next two weeks.
Maki Chapman can be reached at [email protected]