Jewish Student Organization holds a Solidarity Shabbat for marginalized students on campus

“I think it will be really great welcoming so many different people into our space here,” Jewish Student Organization President Thalia Sass.

The Jewish Student Organization held a Solidarity Shabbat at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at Mizzou Hillel to stand with students of color and fight against racism and oppression on campus.

JSO President Thalia Sass was one of the students who came up with the idea for the service and helped put it into action. Over 40 members of the community attended.

“Jews have always had a really big role within social justice and the social justice community,” Sass said. “A lot has happened on our campus, especially this semester, and we thought it was important to acknowledge that and welcome people into our space and share the Solidarity Shabbat with us.”

JSO not only wanted to show support for the black students on campus, but also all other minority and marginalized students. Sass said JSO has faced some racism and believes that all minority groups need to support each other.

“I think it will be really great welcoming so many different people into our space here,” Sass said. “It will hopefully be a catalyst for future partnerships going forward.”

Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Chuck Henson came to the service to show his support. He said that fellowship, community and face-to-face discussions are important for growth. All three were present during the Solidarity Shabbat, he said.

“As we continue to move forward in transforming ourselves more people need to talk to each other by having actual conversations to share and exchange their thoughts,” Henson said. “This is totally different than debating. What I’m talking about is people sharing their thoughts, exchanging their ideas and truly listening and respecting the fact that different people have different opinions.”

Judaism’s immense involvement with social justice comes from one of their central values of tikkun olam. Tikkun olam is a concept represented by acts of kindness to repair the world. This value fuels their push to end racism, Sass said.

“We have always been very involved in the social justice community at Mizzou and elsewhere,” Sass said. “We do tikkun olam whenever we can, because it is a central part of our traditions and culture.”

The Solidarity Shabbat was set up with a traditional Shabbat service outline, except with an emphasis on their commitment to justice. Different passages were read throughout the service along with prayers, songs and a free Kosher dinner afterwards. All affairs were explained as the service went along in light of the attendance of many people from outside the Jewish community.

“Shabbat is the day of rest, but it's also a time to show love to yourself and your community,” read the event description. “May this be a relaxing evening to those who need it and an invigorating evening to those who are looking for the strength to join this movement.”

This will not be the end of JSO’s action for social justice, Sass said. The group is planning the Social Justice Seder, which will take place this spring. They plan to team up with many other organizations to discuss current societal issues.

“JSO has always been very active, and I don’t see that changing anytime in the future,” Sass said.

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