The SEC Big Fall Show scheduled on Yom Kippur: Campus concert coincides with Jewish holiday

Posted by Julia Leef

This year's Student Entertainment Committee Big Fall Show, featuring the band TV on the Radio, coincides with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, both of which fall on Oct. 7, creating controversy with Hillel, a student-run organization under the Office of Jewish Life.

Yom Kippur is the holiest of all Jewish holidays and is a time of fasting and repentance, lasting from sundown on Oct. 7 to sundown on Oct. 8, and welcoming in the New Year with a reflection upon the events of the previous year. According to representatives of Hillel, the nature of the concert conflicts with Yom Kippur.

Hannah Ronson '12, who spoke on behalf of SEC, said that the dates for these concerts are given to the SEC by the administration, and that the choices for the Big Fall Show this year were either the Oct. 7 or Oct. 8. SEC offered these two options to TV on the Radio, who chose to play on Oct. 7. The SEC itself is not given many options regarding the dates of shows.

"It's unfortunate that this happened," Ronson said. "But it really wasn't something that we had control over."

Upon discovering the overlap, the members of Hillel emailed the administration and SEC, and met with SEC on Sept. 26 to discuss possible solutions for this issue.

"I think that we all got to speak our minds, which was a good way to communicate, and especially in a controlled environment, so that there was no bad air. It's still a work in progress, though," said Rebekah Page '14, co-president of Hillel.

SEC and Hillel decided that both events would take place on the same day, and that students would choose which one they wanted to attend. "It was established that there's no student life policy or anything prohibiting shows from happening on Yom Kippur or any other religious date," Ronson said.

"It came down to the fact that they recognized the effect that it had on us and we reached a point where we're forming a committee to either create a policy change in event planning or to create a sort of checklist, not just for this holiday but for other ones as well," said Zoe Silver '14, publicist for Hillel.

Members of SEC, Hillel and the Student Government Association will be co-writing a joint statement to the college community explaining what happened and the outcome of their discussion.

Hillel will still strive to prevent this kind of conflict in the future, saying that they want to retain religion as an important aspect of college life. "We need to make people aware so that people will be sensitive to religion," Page said. "Our big issue for us was that it's just known that college students take a step back from religion when they're in college."

"I think I'm maybe disappointed that I don't know if this has gotten out to the general public enough," said Erika Wohl '14, co-president of Hillel, "and because the mediation discussion was closed, it probably didn't get publicized enough. I don't know if people will understand the extent of this situation from that."

Silver said that she found a college policy from a few years back that stated there will never be classes held on Yom Kippur, and looks to bring attention to this as well as to other aspects of the college-religion relationship.

Students who are interested in attending the Big Fall Show should purchase tickets in Case Center, where members of SEC will be selling them up until the date of the concert. Tickets are $8 for students with their college IDs and $25 for the public. The concert will take place at 8 p.m. in the Williamson Sports and Recreation Center. More information can be found on SEC's Facebook page and blog.

Those who wish to attend service on Oct. 7 can go to the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater at 8 p.m. for an evening service held by Hillel with co-rabbis Linda Motzkin and her husband Jonathan Rubenstein of Temple Sinai. There also will be a morning service on Oct. 8 followed by a nature walk in North Woods, and an afternoon service at 4 p.m. followed by Yizkor, Ne'ilah and break-fast. More information can be found on the Hillel website.

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