This past Thursday and Friday were the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and one of the most important of all the Jewish Holidays. Here at the Island School we recognized this important day by having a small “service” of our own. With much work and dedication from Justin Wedes, we were able to get apples bread and honey, a symbolic treat especially for the new year. The sweetness of the honey is to represent the sweetness we hope to bring to our new year, and the round shape of both the apples and the challah (bread) is to represent a new start and the beginning of the new year. In addition to this traditional treat we also incorporated the beauty of our surroundings here on Eleuthera, Bahamas by adding a sugar apple to menu. Our small recognition of Rosh Hashanah was not only attended by those of our community who are jewish, but many others who were just simply interested.

For me, coming from a place where Judaism is such a part of my life, to a place without my comfortable jewish community was a new experience. Although it felt weird and unfamiliar to not be in services at home, or around the table with my family, this experience pushed me out of my comfort zone like so many other things here at the Island School. Instead I was forced to say my own prayers and do my own Tashlich service (a ceremonial throwing of bread crumbs into the water to symbolize casting away our sins – I used trail mix). Some may see my observance of Rosh Hashanah, which is such a major part of the jewish year, as crazy, but this has been one of my more meaningful experiences at the Island School so far. I was able to overcome any homesickness I was feeling around the holiday as I did my best to acknowledge it both on my kayak trip and back on campus.

The Island School is different from what I feel “comfortable” with in so many ways. From intense morning exercise, to math class on a sand bar, Island School has been far more than ever expected. As we end our 2 week orientation and get into the swing of academics, I am confident that there will be far more challenges and far more times for us to be pushed out of our comfort zone to come.

By Hannah Leeman