|Dear friends of the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life:A fully functioning culture of religious life and spiritual discernment rests on our students and community members who comprise a rich diversity of belief, curiosity, social engagement and passion for justice. The programs that extend from the OUCRL to the campus and community at large are, by and large, reflections of this broadening sense of purpose and calling to make a difference in this world.
As we round the curve at midsemester with the holidays soon to be in view, we have much to celebrate and anticipate!
Our Holocaust Lecture Series further examined our 2016 theme, “Rituals of Memory and Oblivion,” with a program on Oct. 6 (Three Generations of a Memory), and a film on Oct. 10 (My Mother’s Courage). The Rev. Patrick Desbois, recently featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes , will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Langford Auditorium on “Moving from Indifference to Action.” Father Desbois is the founder of the Yahad-In Unium, an organization dedicated to locating sites of mass graves of Jewish victims in the former Soviet Union. This is free and open to the public.
I write this letter after the Jewish High Holy Days, which began with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and segued into Yom Kippur. I took part in two very festive Rosh Hashanah gatherings, one hosted by Vanderbilt Chabad on Oct. 2, and another with Vanderbilt Hillel on Oct. 3. Listening to students, now young adults, recount their childhood stories and show their love for tradition, I can honestly dispel the rumor that college is where religion and spirituality go into hiding. I am proud of an expanding diversity of traditions on our campus, especially this month for our Jewish leaders and students who have made Vanderbilt a religious home away from home.
I also want to lift up the new staff and the student interns and workers who grace the OUCRL these days. Read about them below. We are happy to have them as caring extensions of our work. As always, thank you for your continuing interest and support. I look forward to your monthly feedback and encouragement.
Reverend Mark Forrester
University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life
Meet the new OUCRL staff and affiliated chaplains
Jewish students celebrate High Holy Days
On Oct. 2-4, the Vanderbilt Jewish community gathered to celebrate the New Year. Chabad hosted their annual Rosh Hashanah Gala on Alumni Lawn, which included an inspirational service and a delicious meal. Hillel also hosted a number of events which included meals, services and other activities. Follow the links to learn more about what Hillel and Chabad offered during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish tradition.