Jewish Life at VCU Rosh Hashana 2020

by Jewish Life at VCU

I hope you’ll imagine what it’s like to be a student, coming to Virginia Commonwealth University campus. It’s a new year. But everything is strange and different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Even in normal times, it’s easy to feel small and lost. It’s easy to think that you don’t matter. And that no one cares. But now, with the pandemic, you’re worried about your health. You’re worried about your family’s health. You hope your education can stay on track. You hope there will be jobs out there when you graduate.

On top of all that, there’s something else….

You’re lonely.

So lonely. 

• Online meetings and classes are helpful, but they just aren’t the same. You’re still alone, just looking at the screen. It’s hard to feel connected with friends, your parents, and everyone who matters. 

• When your fellow students wonder about your religion and beliefs -- it can be hard to talk to them in the best of times. Now, It’s so difficult and awkward! 

• And you wonder where you will celebrate the High Holidays -- realizing that you may spend them sitting alone in your room.

Honestly, I’m worried. The toll this pandemic will have and the far-reaching impact on their mental and emotional health cannot be measured or known.

But there’s hope for them. And it comes from you.

You can help a student who's facing these things. You can give them a way to stay strong and secure in their Jewish identity -- the very thing that has supported us through all the generations of hardship and uncertain times.

You can be there for students who are wondering, more than anything else,  “will anyone care?”

Students need a way to connect. A way to learn. A way to celebrate and thrive -- to be themselves and grow together as a community. 

You can give them what they need. Now, when they need it more than ever..

The High Holidays are right around the corner, You can help Jewish students safely celebrate, deeply connect with their community, and feel at peace, knowing that someone does care.


Can you give $180 to help sponsor the High Holidays?

Your donation will help launch new programs to celebrate and create community in a safe and sensible way through small moments. They are realistic responses to our current situation that focuses on the positive, and brings a closer level of caring and sharing to our college students. Today they need us more than ever.

We can not wait for “normal” to return. Students need you now.

When you help someone in a time of crisis, you can change the course of their life. For good.

As they grow and mature, get married, raise families … they will carry in their hearts the strength you gave them in this hard time.

This is what your donation at this critical time will do.

If you can give more than $180, I can assure you that it will be used to reach and host even more students. If $180 is too much, please know that any amount, even one dollar, will help.

To celebrate the new year and new programming, we will be creating a display for the High Holidays called The Caring Wall, where every person who gives will be listed. Including those who choose to be anonymous. 

We wish you and yours a sweet New Year with only blessings,


Rabbi Matisyahu & Chana Rivka Friedman

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