On Motzei Shabbat, August 29, AJA high school students attended a selichot program in the Minsk Gym. Beginning with a reflective discussion, continuing with communal slow shira, and concluding with a selichot service in the Beit Midrash, students tapped into a reflective mindset throughout the program.
Starting the program, students read through a source sheet about ways to return to Hashem, one of those being by changing one’s name. This sparked a spirited discussion about the significance of a name and what it represents. Judaic Studies faculty, new AJA Shinishinim Noa Benesh and Ori Weinstein, STUCO, and approximately 20 students attended the program. Yered Wittenberg, STUCO co-president, explained that this tight-knit group enhanced the program by fostering intimate discussion amongst students and faculty. Yaakov Wasserman, a freshman who joined the program, appreciated “the style” of the conversation. He believed “it was deep” and everyone “made a lot of great points.” After connecting over slow shira, students transitioned to the Beit Midrash for an abridged selichot service meant to familiarize high school students with these tunes, according to Rabbi Houben, who led the service. The program served as a way to ease into the high holiday season.