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  • Hillels of Georgia

How to Celebrate the High Holidays When You're Away from Home

By Susan Fishman, Be Well With Hillel Counselor


With the high holidays around the corner, students who stay on campus often feel homesick for family and the community and traditions they’ve grown to love. It can be especially hard for those who live far from home, as well as first-year students who are still getting accustomed to being away from family and friends. Although being away from home during the holidays can be tough, it’s also an opportunity to embrace student life, make new friends and traditions, and develop a sense of home away from home. Here are a few ways to feel more connected and create your own celebrations during the high holidays:


Don’t be afraid to be homesick – it’s a normal reaction to being away from what is known and predictable (and it probably shouldn’t be called “homesickness,” because you’re not sick). Almost all students feel homesick at some time, especially in the beginning and during the holidays.


Keep up with your family traditions. You don’t have to give up your favorite traditions just because you’re not at home. Call Mom or Dad and get your favorite holiday recipes to make for your friends or roommates. Make them together with your family over Facetime.


Do something different. Try something you wouldn’t normally do and create new rituals with others, such as a holiday hike or other outdoor gathering.


Get involved in the community – find new organizations, clubs and volunteer opportunities that will give you a chance to connect with other students and create your “family” on campus.


Join your campus Hillel in celebrating the holidays. Hillels of Georgia is providing in-person services free of charge for all college students! Services will be held at Emory University and assistance with transportation is available - just talk to your Campus Director. Hillel is also offering holiday programming so you can celebrate with your Jewish home away from home. Check out all High Holiday program offerings on the Hillel Hive.


Reach out to others for support and share your feelings. Consider campus resources available to you, such as your college counseling center or Be Well with Hillel counselor.


Know that it’s temporary. Homesickness happens during periods of transition, and generally comes in waves. Try to remember that this feeling won’t last.


Don’t forget to call Bubbe back home. Make time to call your family – they miss you just as much as you miss them!


Need to Talk?


We can help. Hillels of Georgia, in partnership with JF&CS, and thanks to a generous grant by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, is providing private, confidential counseling for college students – at no cost to you!


No issue is too big, or too small. So contact us at Be Well with Hillel, and we can talk.

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