SCJC Statement on Refugee and Muslim Ban

The Smith College Jewish Community (SCJC) stands in strong opposition to Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslims and refugees from entering the country. This executive order, signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a haunting reminder of our obligation as Jews to fight for the humanity of other marginalized groups and to open up our arms to all people seeking refuge.

The SCJC is committed to making our organization and our physical space of the Kosher Kitchen (on Paradise Road behind Jordan House) accessible, safe, and welcoming to all students, regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity, or race. In the next few weeks we will be holding sessions in the Kosher Kitchen, open to everyone, where we will be contacting our representatives and strategizing tangible next steps. The first of such meetings will occur at 4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2 and will continue every following Tuesday at the same time. Additionally, we will be brainstorming ways that we can be in active solidarity with Muslim students, faculty, and staff on campus.

And of course, every Friday night we celebrate Shabbat as a community. Everyone is always welcome to join us in a space dedicated to being inclusive. We invite any and all ideas for how to grow this resistance and strengthen our solidarity.  We will continue to respond to policies put forward by the Trump administration that exacerbate existing inequalities that violate our Jewish values.

— Smith College Jewish Community Board

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Camino Pilgrimage: Walking in Faith

This past summer, I set out on a pilgrimage across Spain with my friend Chelsea.  We walked along the El Camino de Santiago, in English “The Way of Saint James,” a total of nearly 500 miles. We walked over mountains, in the desert, along rivers, and through so many wonderful Spanish towns. The Camino de Santiago is casually referred to as “the Camino” or “the Way” and attracts pilgrims form all over the world. I noticed a considerable amount of Italians and Germans on the Camino. Continue reading

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Student Advisory Board Strives for Inclusion and Advocacy

The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life’s Student Advisory Board is a group of students that gather to advise the Center on a variety of things. Part of our job is to help plan events, like vigils and contemplative spaces, and relay to the team what we need from them as individuals and as a student body.

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Mourning, Intersectionality, and Hope, Part I: Don’t Be Selective

We have been focusing our  vigils on  shedding light in places where the inquiry and fervor of the media does not go. To vigil means to “pay attention” and to be “watchful.” Members of our diverse community are often directly affected by violence in contexts which are largely ignored by the media. On 4/16, members of EKTA, the South Asian Student organization, came forward to both mourn and protest the violence in Pakistan where a terror attack took place on Easter Sunday. Below are the opening remarks and the words from one of the student speakers, Mahnoor Latif, who shared her powerful statement. Continue reading

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Understanding Quaker Worship

Sitting in an hour of silence might not be the typical way to spend a weekend morning. But that’s exactly what I did on Sunday at the Northampton Friends Meeting.

Quaker worship is based on silent waiting, with the expectation of coming into the presence of God. Worshiping in silence brings the community together through love and faithfulness.  During this silent worship, anyone may feel inspired to speak and share a message. While at the Meeting, I listened to people who rose to their feet and shared their story. Continue reading

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Smith College Festival of Sound and Space

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There is no better way to recharge from a hectic day than by listening to the relaxing sounds of the guitar. That’s exactly what I did last Wednesday, when I attended the Athens Guitar Duo concert, held as part of the fifth season of Smith College Festival of Sound and Space. Continue reading

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Mourning, Intersectionality, and Hope, Part I: # Our Three Brothers:

Our Three Brothers Banner

At the end of February, three young immigrant men, two of whom were Muslim, were tragically killed in Fort Wayne, Indiana under unknown circumstances. They were murdered “execution style” in an abandoned building that was “under surveillance” by police for “gang and violent crimes.” The young men themselves did not have gang affiliations.

Student activists, some identifying as Muslim themselves, helped bring to the attention of the Smith Campus the stark contrast between the media coverage of these deaths and the murders of  three dental students in Chapel Hill North Carolina.

The murders of Deah Barakat, Rezan Abu-Salha, and Yosur Aby-Salha, in North Carolina in March of 2015,  identified as a hate crime, brought media focus to Islamophobia and Xenophobia. Here at Smith we vigiled and mourned these deaths. It was a tragic moment. It was also a moment that helped create the opportunity for Muslim students on campus to talk about their daily fear of being targeted.* Continue reading

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