Tag Archives: students

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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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: # 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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Filed under Justice, Identity, and Social Change

Finding Zen in the Art Museum

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It isn’t everyday that one gets the opportunity to practice yoga in an art museum. This past Friday, however, I found myself carrying my yoga mat into the Brown Fine Arts Center, as part of the Mindfulness & Your Museum workshop. With the museum closed with the exception of our small group, we walked through the exhibits barefoot, in awe of the artwork that stood silent in front of us. Continue reading

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Easter Sunday Services: Opportunities in the Community

 

Edwards Church

During Holy Week and Easter Sunday, students had the opportunity to attend local churches such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Edwards (United Church of Christ), St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Churches (United Church of Christ) to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The celebrations varied: Edwards and First Churches had a Service of Tenebrae which recreated the emotional aspects of the Passion story; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish had traditions ranging from Stations of the Cross, a 14-step Catholic devotion commemorating Jesus’ last day as a man on Earth, to Blessing of the Food; St. John’s had The Meditation, an all-night prayer vigil and a Contemplative Service before their Easter service on Sunday. Continue reading

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Lent Book Club: Sunday Nights of Conversation and Engagement

A group of students gathered inside Bodman Lounge during Lent the past couple of Sundays to discuss Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Each meeting students discussed various passages that stood out to them, leading to deeper conversation about God, religion’s place on Smith campus, family, and today’s world. Continue reading

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Zazen Meditation: Adapting to a Different Meditative Practice

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We joined together in CC 102 Thursday evening to participate in Zazen Meditation, led by Sensei Catherine Anraku Hondorp, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest and heal practitioner. Anraku Hondorp Sensei is also a Buddhist Community Religious Adviser for The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Zazen, or seated Zen, is a meditation that is deeply rooted in the Buddhist spiritual tradition and “the very heart of Zen practice.” In her introduction to the participants, Anraku Hondorp Sensei spoke about trying to find “the middle path” in our meditation. She emphasized seating positions and finding one that was most comfortable. To maintain balance and keep thoughts away, she suggested folding your hands and making sure the thumbs were “gently touching” to bring yourself back. Once we settled in, Sensei Anraku Hondorp tapped the Kesu Meditation Gong three times, and we began. Continue reading

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