Jewish Club meets Tuesday, November 24

Jewish Student Union (JSU) met last Tuesday, November 24 to celebrate Thanksgiving and its cultural significance for the Jewish people.  Advised by Mr. D’Antonio and led by Rabbi Yitz Levi, East’s Jewish Student Union celebrates Jewish culture, while emphasizing the importance of a global community.

JSU, which formerly met only to celebrate specific Jewish holidays, now holds meetings several times a month, although they still often coincide with religious celebrations.

As intellectual discussion around good food has long been a fixture of Jewish culture, JSU started off their meeting with delivery pizza, a standard for their meetings, and a side of philosophy.

“It allows me to explore my inner Jewish-ness and pizza’s also pretty cool,” said active member, Adam Elgrissy (’13).

Club president Ezra Nathan (’11), opened with an introductory speech connecting the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with Hanukkah.

“Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are both coming up and I think both are an important time to give thanks.  You have to support the people around you, Jews, non-Jews, everyone has to come together and help,” said Nathan.

Rabbi Levi added, “All the Jewish holidays are not remembered as a time of thanksgiving.  Only Hanukkah is because it is based on the physical and spiritual persecution of the Jewish people, so we are thankful that we can keep the Jewish population alive.”

The day’s discussion, religious and Star Trek allusions aplenty, centered around the question, “Can we change?”  Rabbi Levi stressed the difference between an identity created by peer pressure versus an identity created by innate morality or willingness to change.

“We all have in us the opportunity to be receptive to people, to be cold, to be any way we want to be, but too many people blame their environment.  Everyone is responsible for their own nature,” said Rabbi Levi.

Rabbi Levy referred to a particular Star Trek movie, where a man who meets his clone demonstrates the differences in personality generated by sheer willpower.

Aside from participating in moral debates, JSU members are never averse to some levity.

“Do you know any of those crazy rabbi dances?” asked Eligrissy.

JSU, whose parent organization is NCSY, a Jewish outreach program, presents the underlying message of social change, unity and acceptance.

“I’m not Jewish, so it may seem weird, but I think the club is more than anything is a place to impress upon people the ideas of community, more than the religious ideas, of Judaism,” said Mr. D’Antonio.

Other students agree.  Most have been practicing members their whole East careers.

Active member Mika Kalimi (’12) said, “It’s a great place for us to be ourselves.”