– The Jewish Student Association celebrated its newest event, Israeli Culture Week, starting April 15.
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By Rachel Brandel, Staff Writer for The Current

The Jewish Student Association celebrated its newest event, Israeli Culture Week, starting April 15.

The JSA only recently became an active group on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. Fall 2012 was the association’s first semester as an active UMSL group, and since then, the group has set out to quickly make themselves known to the student population.

The JSA picked April 15 to begin their Israeli Culture Week because it is also Israel Memorial Day. April 16 also happens to be Israel Independence Day, and the association could not think of a better week in which to celebrate Israeli culture.

On Monday, members of the JSA hosted a table on the Millennium Student Center bridge, handing out water, candy and information about their club. They also informed students about the exciting events happening later in the week.

On Tuesday, Martin Rochester, professor of political science at UMSL, held a discussion titled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at 65: Will it ever end?” in the third floor meeting rooms of the MSC. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict became violent around the 1920s and continues to this day. Historical grievances and recent events have led some to believe it is impossible for them to settle their differences.

On April 18, the JSA welcomed Israeli folk dancer Rachy to UMSL. Rachy, a famous Israeli-style dancer, demonstrated and led Israeli dances that evening, bringing an exciting close to the week of events.

The JSA wanted not only to promote Israeli culture on campus through Israeli Culture Week, but to seek out fellow students who might like to join. As they are still a new organization, they want to encourage all those who are interested in joining and to introduce themselves to those who may not yet know them.

The JSA also holds other events, such as their Chocolate Seder. A Seder is a ritual performed by those in the Jewish faith, and it involves a retelling of the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. Participants also partake in food and drink that hold additional symbolism. UMSL’s JSA considers their Chocolate Seder to be a more laid-back take on the event. It is a fun, festive and unique way to celebrate an important historical, cultural and religious holiday. The JSA also celebrates the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and hopes to hold many more events in the near future.

The JSA can be contacted through their Facebook page, UMSL JSA, and can also be contacted by email at umsljsa2012@gmail.com.

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