This year marks the formation of the Jewish Leadership Board, a group of students who discuss and plan Jewish student life at Milken.
While the board is still in the early stages of development, its influence was already seen in the school’s celebration of Sukkot, which incorporated the concept of ushpizin (guests), upbeat music, and a festive atmosphere. Asher Levy ’12, this year’s Mazkir, student leader of Jewish life, hopes to continue this type of celebration and magnify it in future occasions.
According to Levy, the Jewish Leadership Board strives to make Jewish life more viable and vibrant on campus while maintaining the pluralistic values of the school. The student leaders hope to achieve this by introducing students to different types of Judaism and beliefs without forcing practices upon students. The board intends to achieve this by providing students with various opportunities for celebrating Jewish occasions, rather than limiting all students to one type of celebration. Ultimately, the board’s goal is to create an awareness of other types of Judaism.
The concept of the board was initially formed during the student government elections last year, when Rabbi Gordon Bernat-Kunin, Rabbinic Director, suggested to Levy that such a group be formed.
The board, which meets every Monday at lunch and is advised by Rabbi Heather Miller, Dean of Student Life, helps the Mazkir gain more insight on the broad topic of Jewish life at Milken.
The group has been planning a celebration that would merge Purim and Noruz, which land on the same day this year. Additionally, the board hopes to create a greater awareness of the Omer, which is the counting of days between Passover and Shavuot.
Levy hopes to offer various options to students for Jewish celebrations in order to achieve the notion of pluralism.
“Students should be exposed to other views, but should also be allowed to go where they’re comfortable,” Levy said. “We want activities to be creative, but not forced.”