Greek Life rush no longer to interfere with Jewish holy day Yom Kippur

Sorority members and pledges can celebrate Yom Kippur and formal recruitment without worry now that the Women’s Panhellenic Association has adjusted rush week.

Sorority and Fraternity Life and Ohio University’s current Panhellenic executive board members  worked with current members and potential members to ensure those who choose to observe Yom Kippur, a Jewish holy day that begins Sept. 29 this year, can still participate in recruitment activities.

Association member sororities, as well as Rho Gammas, have been notified and trained that if  potential members or current active members need to miss any recruitment event to observe Yom Kippur, then they are excused. Recruitment events on Saturday are scheduled to occur between services.

In January, three dates were proposed for Fall Semester formal recruitment, but all faced different conflicts. Two proposed dates conflicted with Parents Weekend and the third conflicted with Yom Kippur. 

The association general body representatives elected to have the second weekend of rush be during Yom Kippur. Neither Sorority and Fraternity Life nor the Panhellenic Executive Board voted on this decision.

Some students, such as Alpha Epsilon Pi President Chance Nelson, were unaware of the decision. Nelson mentioned, however, he understands that it would be impossible for the association to choose a date that accommodates everyone. 

“I’m sure WPA didn’t mean to/isn’t trying to be neglectful in any way to Jewish Greek life members,” Nelson said in an email. “I understand it isn’t easy to arrange a schedule that makes everyone happy – it’s nearly impossible.”

While a huge uproar did not result over the decision, the association made an effort to talk to Hillel at Ohio University, a Jewish student organization, and reach a compromise so practicing Jewish students could participate in Fall Semester formal recruitment.

“Coming to this decision was something that the WPA council took a long time thinking about, and we adjusted with our delegates from each chapter,” Michaela Leach, vice president of public relations for WPA, said. “Over all, we came to this decision as a community, together.”

Hillel made the suggestion to shift the second weekend of events so Sisterhood events would take place on the Saturday of Yom Kippur between services, preference events would occur Sunday and Bid Day would be Monday.

“During the vote, two chapters voted in favor of shifting the dates, and eight chapters voted to keep the dates as previously voted,” Kristen Kardas, the assistant director for Sorority and Fraternity Life, said in an email.

However, when a vote is introduced in a Panhellenic general body meeting, Panhellenic delegates are expected to take the vote back to their chapters and then vote in the general body meetings in line with the way their chapter voted on the topic.

“Sorority and Fraternity Life looks forward to its continued, positive relationship with Hillel, and they remain in regular communication about this item,” Kardas said in an email.


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