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Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

Calendar Customer Code: 
CHAPLAIN

Handel’s ‘Esther’

The Lyra Baroque Orchestra, a professional period-instrument ensemble from Minneapolis, will join forces with the Grinnell Singers to perform Handel’s Esther.

The Performance

The concert will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. Although the concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required. Tickets may be picked up at the Bucksbaum Center box office beginning at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. For more information, call the box office at 641-269-4444.

Members of the orchestra will perform on replicas of instruments in use during the 18th century, including a full complement of string instruments, as well as oboes, horns and trumpets. Iowa Public Radio plans to record the performance to be broadcast across the state at a later date.

Handel’s oratorio tells the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, as she acts courageously to save her people from destruction.

The production will feature guest soloists:

  • Linh Kauffman, soprano, as Queen Esther
  • Seth Keeton, baritone, as the villain Haman
  • Richard Joseph, tenor, as the King of Persia
  • Craig Lemming, tenor, as Esther’s Uncle Mordecai
  • Nicholas Miguel, baritone, as the Priest of the Israelites

Grinnell College Blanche Johnson Professor of Music John Rommereim will conduct.

The Panel Discussion

The performance will be preceded on Friday, Feb. 20, by a panel discussion titled “Stories Told and Retold: Handel’s Esther and Narratives of Oppression and Genocide from Biblical Times to the Present.”

The discussion will start at 4:15 p.m. in Lawson Lecture Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts Room 152. The panel will include Rommereim as well as:

Jacque Ogg, musical director of Lyra Baroque Orchestra will play harpsichord. The orchestra also includes Grinnell Music faculty member Guinevere McIntyre playing on natural horn.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the rear of the building north of Sixth Ave., and Sebring-Lewis Hall is fully accessible. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Patricia Williams of Columbia Law School and Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic will come to Grinnell College for events on Jan. 19-20. All events are free and open to the public, and will take place in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Patricia WilliamsOn Monday, Jan. 19, Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University and recipient of a 2000 MacArthur "genius grant," will give a "teach-in" on "Hoping Against Hopelessness: An Anatomy of Short Lives." The teach-in, an interactive mix of lecture and discussion, will start at 10:30 a.m. and resume at 1:30 p.m. after a break for lunch.

Ta-Nehisi CoatesOn Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m., Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, will give a lecture titled "The Case for Reparations." Coates's June 2014 cover story of the same name, which focuses on race relations in America, set a record for number of downloads in a single day from The Atlantic's website.

"Fostering respectful interactions in a diverse community is a critical part of Grinnell's mission," says Poonam Arora, chief diversity officer and associate dean of Grinnell College. "It is an honor to welcome Mr. Coates and Professor Williams to Grinnell, and I look forward to hearing their words as we come together to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day."

Sponsors include the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; the Office of the President; the Peace and Conflict Studies Program; the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice; the Student Government Association; the Office of the Dean; and the Center for the Humanities.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center is located on Eighth Avenue, with accessible parking on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

Religion and Spirituality

“Grinnell has made the commitment to serve diverse religious groups and help them practice and celebrate,” says Deanna Shorb, dean of religious life and college chaplain. She hopes that students take the opportunity when they’re in college, and part of a community that is simultaneously very diverse and very similar, to learn about others’ beliefs.

Students can learn more about their own religion by experiencing or learning about someone else’s. “If we embrace all the diversity here, including religious diversity, we can see what a unique educational opportunity we offer in and outside the classroom,” says Shorb. “I want Grinnell to have the most global and diverse chaplaincy possible.”

Grinnell was founded as a Congregationalist college in 1846, but today it has no institutional religious affiliation. “People tend to perceive Grinnell as a secular place because it’s not a religiously affiliated school,” Shorb says.

Shorb oversees Grinnell’s Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (CRSSJ), which serves all students on campus. It is home to Muslim and Hindu prayer rooms as well as a communal space used for meditation. “We worked with Deanna to make the space in the CRSSJ our own,” says Mari Holmes ’17, a leader of the Muslim Student Association.

All of the 12 currently active and established religious groups are welcome to use the CRSSJ. All students have access every day from 8 a.m. to midnight. Students can get 24-hour access to the building by request.

To meet the needs of religious students, Shorb arranges for religious leaders to come to campus and students to go out of town to travel to mosques, temples, and other places of worship. “Deanna Shorb and Stacey Cannon have helped me organize brunches and other events for students,” says Greg Garcia ’17, the leader of the Catholic Student Association. If students’ spiritual needs can be met by a church in town, Shorb also helps them find the best fit.

Every year as the student body changes, so does the makeup of the religious groups — some of the groups may be dissolved or reformed, depending on student interest. Even though there are many religious groups on campus, some students may not find the one that’s right for them. Students who wish to establish their own group can register with the Student Government Association. It only takes two people, and once registered, groups get an official college email address and can request funding from SGA.

Some religious events are campuswide celebrations. Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, are enjoyed by students of all faiths. And this year’s Eid al-Adha dinner was one of the best attended in the College’s history. More than 100 people came, including State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad. Most groups encourage people of different faiths to join them or come to an event they host and learn more about them.

Ghoultide Scarols

Reimagine “The Night Before Christmas” teeming with memorable Halloween characters and punctuated by appropriately macabre music. 

That’s what’s in store at “Ghoultide Scarols,” an interactive Halloween concert at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in Herrick Chapel.

The free public concert begins with J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D minor performed by Organist Linda Bryant. Students then present “Ghoultide Scarols” by Thomas Pavlechko.

“Ghoultide Scarols” is based on “Twas All Hallow’s Eve,” a takeoff on “The Night Before Christmas.” The poem, told through narrative and song, chronicles the adventures of Ghoulies who set out for a night of trick-or-treating and encounter memorable characters along the way.

“Scarols” are Yuletide carols set in a minor key with spooky accompaniments and Halloween words. Among the “scarols” featured in Grinnell’s concert are “Deck the Halls with Web and Spider,” “Here We Come A-Scaroling,” and “We Wish You a Spooky Ghoultide.”

Student a cappella group Noteworthy, directed by Ben Vaughn ’15, leads the singing. The concert features Bryant and organ students Peter Aldrich ’15, Taylor Dabney ’15, Lee Li ’18, and Alice Loewenson ’18Lizzie Eason ’17 and Harrison Barr ’18 serve as narrators, and there’s even a role for the audience.

Audience members are encouraged to come in costume. The concert is co-sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain and the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice.

Please call 641-269-3235 for more information, and for answers to questions concerning access and accommodation for a disability.

Events for the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

Text Study
Noon, Mondays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
Starting Sept. 8

The Book of Psalms
An inter-religious Bible Study. All are welcome.
Lunch provided, RSVP appreciated to Stacey Cannon.
 
GRINNELL COMMUNITY MEAL
 
5:45 p.m. Tuesdays
Grinnell Community Meal is served every week and is free and open to the public. The community meal is coordinated and sponsored by the Social Justice Action Group (SJAG).  For more information or if your group would like to prepare a meal, please contact x4597 or x4981. Volunteers are always needed to help with prep, serve and clean up.
 
Gumma: Muslim Prayer
2:30 p.m. Fridays CRSSJ Prayer Garage
Prayer is led by prayer leader Kamal Hammouda. For more information please contact call x4981.
 
Kabbalat Shabbat Service
5:15 p.m. Fridays in the Chalutzim lounge
All are welcome to this weekly informal egalitarian service, which provides a spiritual and self-reflective cap to the week, ushering in the Sabbath, day of rest and renewal.  The service takes place in the Chalutzim lounge in the Multi-cultural suites, from 5:15 to 6 p.m. on Friday.  For more information about this event or Jewish life on campus, please contact Rabbi Rob Cabelli at x4266.
 
Shabbat Table
6:15 p.m. Fridays at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 209
Please join us for Shabbat Tablem a bountiful way to bring the week to a close with friends and community in a spirit of peace and gratitude, with a delicious vegetarian meal cooked and prepared by students in the Chalutzim student group in the Chalutzim kosher kitchen. Shabbat Table, as well as the informal egalitarian service that precedes it  at 5:15 in the Chalutzim lounge, is open to everyone. RSVP’s for Shabbat Table are recommended, by Wednesday if possible, with your ID number if you are able to donate a meal from your meal plan.  For more information about this event or Jewish life on campus, please contact Rabbi Rob Cabelli at x4266.
 
Shabbat Torah Study
10:30-noon Saturdays at the CRSSJ Prayer Garage
What is Torah study? We read and interrogate texts from the Five Books of Moses (i.e. Torah) according to the presumption that this ancient compilation has important things to say about the human condition, but we make no assumptions about what they are. We mine it for meaning, trying to insinuate ourselves into the “mind of the Torah.” We encounter language and literary theory, spirituality, philosophy, anthropology, philology, ideas of justice and questions about the nature of life and the universe, and a whole lot more in our explorations. All are welcome – you need not know Hebrew at all, though we do delve into it at times, nor hold any particular religious or theological beliefs, practices, or tenets – that’s not what this is about. For more information please contact Rabbi Rob Cabelli at x4266.    
 
Religious Life Staff are available for confidential conversation and counseling for students, staff and faculty.  
Walk-in hours follow (or please contact us at x4981 for an appointment):

Rev. Deanna Shorb
Dean of Religious Life and Chaplain
Tuesdays (10 a.m.-11:30am)  CRSSJ
Wednesdays (1 p.m. —2:00pm) Spencer Grill
Fridays (9 a.m. — 10 a.m.) Spencer Grill

Rabbi Rob Cabelli
Associate Chaplain
Tuesdays (1 p.m. —2 p.m.) Spencer Grill
Wednesdays (10:30 a.m. —Noon) CRSSJ
Thursdays (11a.m.—Noon)  Spencer Grill

Kamal Hammouda
Muslim Prayer Leader
By Appointment

Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (1233 Park St, across from ARH) please call x4981.

Going Solo For Prayer and Meditation?
The prayer rooms at the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (2nd Floor, 1233 Park St) and Herrick Chapel (Basement) are open daily 8 a.m. until Midnight.
 
Support Meetings:
AA 11th. Step Meeting  
Mondays @ 7 p.m.
CRSSJ Prayer Garage
Meets every Monday, all are welcome
1233 Park St (Park & 8th Ave) (Back of building, North entrance.)  
For more information about other anonymous support groups, contact the chaplain's office.

Marijuana Anonymous Meeting   
Starting Sept. 3,
5 p.m. Wednesdays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
 

Saving Food, Feeding People

More than 3,350 pounds of food — about the weight of a Ford Mustang — was donated to families in the Grinnell community during the 2013­–14 school year.

This intensive effort was led by Dylan Bondy ’16, who started the Grinnell College chapter of the Food Recovery Network (FRN) in May 2013. FRN is a national organization that works with college students to fight food waste and hunger.

Bondy, who serves as the Grinnell chapter president of FRN, works with the College dining hall to recover leftovers to feed local people in need.

How Food Recovery and Distribution Works

College dining hall staff members pack leftover food from the kitchen and the line — where food is served to students — into large, single-use aluminum trays.

After each meal, a student volunteer picks up the food, weighs it — to record in FRN’s national database — and puts it into the student organization’s refrigerator in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

The next day, three students drive that food a few blocks to the First Presbyterian Church. With the help of church volunteers, especially Dave and Linda Cranston, the food is distributed to people who need it. This happens five days a week during the school year.

Another important partner is Mid-Iowa Community Action, which verifies that people are eligible for food assistance and provides vouchers for their weekly food pickups.

This smoothly operating partnership and distribution network didn’t exist a year ago. Thanks to the help of many people in the community and on campus, including the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice, the project is going strong.

Bondy says, “The work we’re doing in the community is substantive. We are out there in the field, meeting people in the community, putting food in their hands. FRN volunteers (or FRNds) get to form meaningful bonds with the people of Grinnell and help support their livelihood.”

The program is expanding for 2014–15. The Hy-Vee grocery store in Grinnell is a confirmed new partner, Bondy says. Hy-Vee will donate food that is past its sell-by date, but is still good.

How the Idea Evolved

 Students talking to diners while serving foodWhen Bondy was a first-year student, he saw students loading trays with way more food than they could eat. The uneaten food — full slices of pizza, burgers, chicken breasts, whole salads — was composted or thrown out.

Bondy wanted to do something about the waste. He was talking to his mom about it one day. She told him about an interview she’d seen with a guy named Ben Simon from the Food Recovery Network, who spoke about of his efforts to start a national student movement for food recovery and waste reduction. She urged Bondy to get Grinnell involved.

“As soon as I found out about Food Recovery Network, I knew I had to bring it to our campus,” Bondy says. He worked with Mary Zheng ’15 to get the project going.

About 30 students volunteer their time and effort each semester. Additionally, more than 200 students subscribe to the College’s FRN email list.

Educating Students About Food Waste

One of the group’s early and ongoing efforts is to educate students about food waste. Chapter volunteers weigh and evaluate food from student trays, which can’t be recovered for use.

This activity is paired with a “Take what you’ll eat” campaign. Bondy even took a documentary film short course and made a film about tray waste at Grinnell.

Bondy says, “For a while, I definitely spent more time on FRN than academics because I could see the tangible impact, that students were making really valuable changes and connections in the greater community. As a sociology major, I often get sick of just seeing social change in the textbook — it’s all about the real world application, making a concrete change.”

Food Waste & Hunger Summit

Five members of Grinnell’s FRN chapter attended the Food Waste & Hunger Summit in April 2014, the first of its kind. Students from all over the U.S. discussed strategies for reducing hunger and food waste in their communities. “We got to see a new national movement that’s making a substantive difference around the U.S.,” Bondy says.

Because Grinnell College has the first successful rural food recovery model in the Food Recovery Network, Bondy led a session entitled “Innovative Solutions to Rural Hunger,” in which he shared the chapter’s story and provided a sort of road map to rural food recovery.

“Through student food recovery efforts,” Bondy says, “our generation is going to make the change this nation needs, and we’re going to see hunger in the U.S. be greatly alleviated.”

Mary Zheng ’15, from from Gainesville, Va., is majoring in anthropology and Chinese.

Dylan Bondy ’16 is a sociology major from San Rafael, Calif. and Delary Beach, Fla.

Mission and Values of the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

The Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice is dedicated to fostering and celebrating a diversity of practice and opinion regarding religion, spirituality, culture, ability, disability, and social justice policy. We encourage and support engagement on our campus, in the broader Grinnell community and the global commons, in the form of dialogue, programming, and service.  We are committed to continuing current and creating new opportunities for collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
 
We value:

Events: Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

AA 11th Step Meeting  
7:00 p.m. on Mondays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage, 1233 Park Street, back of building, north entrance

Text Study: the Book of NUMBERS
Noon on Tuesdays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
An Inter-religious Bible Study (with theological probability and the occasional statistic --genealogy, really). We’ll discuss some of the Bible’s greatest stories… (Think talking donkeys, anxious scouts, jealous siblings and sticks and stones make… water.) All are welcome!
Lunch provided, RSVP appreciated to Stacey Cannon by Monday evening.
 
Grinnell Community Meal 
5:45 p.m. on Tuesdays
Grinnell Community Meal is served every week by SJAG. The meal is FREE and open to the public. The Community Meal is coordinated and sponsored by the Social Justice Action Group (SJAG). For more information or if your group would like to prepare a meal, please contact 269-4597 or 269-4981. Volunteers are always needed to help with prep, serve, and clean up.
 
Marijuana Anonymous Meeting
5 p.m. on Wednesdays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
 
Council on Religious Life
5:30 p.m. Wednesday April 9, Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 224A
The Council on Religious Life meets twice each month for interreligious dialogue and the planning of multi-religious programming for the campus. Everyone is welcome. Email RSVP by Tuesday evening to Stacey Cannon.
 
Grinnell Meditation Group
8:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and 3:45 p.m. on Saturdays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
Grinnell Meditation is a mindfulness practice group for anyone who wants to connect to the present moment and cultivate awareness. These meetings will be no shorter than 30 minutes, no longer than 1 hour, and will have the following format: 5-10 minutes of basic instruction and approximately 20 minutes of sitting meditation. There will be an optional discussion group afterwards for those who wish to stay. Questions or more information please email meditation.
 
Gumma: Muslim Prayer
1:30 p.m. on Fridays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
Prayer is led by prayer leader Kamal Hammouda. For more information please email hammoudk or questions about prayer time can be directed to 269-4981.
 
Kabbalat Shabbat Service
5:15 p.m. on Fridays, Chalutzim lounge
All are welcome to this weekly informal egalitarian service, which provides a spiritual and self-reflective cap to the week, ushering in the Sabbath, day of rest and renewal.  The service takes place in the Chalutzim lounge in the Multi-cultural suites, from 5:15 to 6 p.m. For more information about this event or Jewish life on campus, please email Rabbi Rob Cabelli or call 269-4266.
 
Shabbat Table
5:15 p.m. on Fridays, Rosenfield Center, Room 209
Please join us for Shabbat Table (6:15 PM in Rosenfield Center, Room 209), a bountiful way to bring the week to a close with friends and community in a spirit of peace and gratitude, with a delicious vegetarian meal cooked and prepared by students in the Chalutzim student group in the Chalutzim kosher kitchen. Shabbat Table, as well as the informal egalitarian service that precedes it (5:15 in the Chalutzim lounge), is open to everyone. RSVP’s for Shabbat Table [Chalutz] are recommended, by Wednesday if possible, with your ID number if you are able to donate a meal from your meal plan. For more information about this event or Jewish life on campus, please contact Rabbi Rob Cabelli.
 
Shabbat Torah Study
10:30-Noon on Saturdays, CRSSJ Prayer Garage
What is Torah study? We read and interrogate texts from the Five Books of Moses (i.e. Torah) according to the presumption that this ancient compilation has important things to say about the human condition, but we make no assumptions about what they are.  We mine it for meaning, trying to insinuate ourselves into the “mind of the Torah.”  We encounter language and literary theory, spirituality, philosophy, anthropology, philology, ideas of justice and questions about the nature of life and the universe, and a whole lot more in our explorations.  All are welcome – you need not know Hebrew at all, though we do delve into it at times, nor hold any particular religious or theological beliefs, practices, or tenets – that’s not what this is about.  For more information please contact Rabbi Rob Cabelli.  
 
Lox ‘N Bagel Brunch
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month, Rosenfield Center, Room 209
Yearning for real lox, bagels, and cream cheese?  Want to wake up to OJ and coffee, fresh fruit, freshly scrambled eggs, and more before heading off to study? Join us for Chalutzim's lox & bagel Sunday brunch, the first Sunday of every month. Eat and schmooze (that is, kickback and chill)! Bring your friends. All are welcome, but remember that the early bird gets the fish. For more information please contact Rabbi Rob Cabelli.
 
Walk-in Conversation & Counseling
Religious Life Staff are available for confidential conversation and counseling for students, staff and faculty.  
Walk-in hours follow (or please contact us at 269-4981 for an appointment):

Rev. Deanna Shorb
Dean of Religious Life and Chaplain
Mondays (2:00 PM—3:00 PM)  at Spencer Grill
Tuesdays (10:00 AM—11:30 AM) CRSSJ

Rabbi Rob Cabelli
Associate Chaplain
Tuesdays (10:30 AM—Noon) CRSSJ
Wednesdays (3:00 PM—4:00 PM) CRSSJ
Thursdays (1:00 PM—2:00 PM) at Spencer Grill

Kamal Hammouda
Adjunct Muslim Prayer Leader
By Appointment

Going Solo For Prayer and Meditation?
The prayer rooms at the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (2nd Floor, 1233 Park St) and Herrick Chapel (Basement) are open daily 8 a.m. until midnight.

First-Generation Student Dessert Reception April 10

If you were the first in your family to attend college, please consider joining us at our Annual First-Generation Student Dessert Reception at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 10, 2014 in JRC 209.  The goal of this annual event is to connect first-generation college students with faculty and staff members from similar backgrounds.

In mingling with one another, we hope to identify the ways in which we might assist these students academically or in a co-curricular way throughout the year.  Students find it immensely helpful to know that they are not alone and that some professional staff members and professors started out as First-Gens.

If you are interested in attending, please be in touch and we will send you a paper invitation and a "1st" button to wear on campus.  (For those of you who have identified yourselves as First Gen in the past or previously attended a reception—your button is 'in the mail'. )  Since our First-Gen students will also receive these buttons, they will recognize your support if they see you wearing one.
 
Thanks for your time,

Al Lacson, Assistant Professor of History                                   
Deanna Shorb, Dean of Religious Life          

The reception will be co-sponsored by the CRSSJ & the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.