by Luka Dubnick ’23
The Asbell Center for Jewish Life and the Department of Judaic Studies recently welcomed nationally recognized Jewish singer-songwriter Elana Arian to the campus. Arian is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and a prayer leader who has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the White House. A leading voice in contemporary Jewish music, Arian draws inspiration from Jewish texts and liturgy and uses a mix of English and Hebrew in her original works. Arian shared numerous songs from her most recent album, the 2021 release The Other Side of Fear.
This student-inspired and student-executed event was open to students, faculty, staff and the local Jewish community, and Arian offered a variety of songs and stories. After the concert, the Asbell Center and the Department of Judaic Studies hosted a dessert reception for the students, during which Arian taught them about making meaning out of worship.
“Arian's concert was one of the most spiritually uplifting events I have ever participated in,” says Nitsa Kann, associate professor and chair of religion and Judaic studies. “Elana engaged students and faculty in her music, and everyone enthusiastically sang along.”
“It was wonderful to be in song and community with the Dickinson College Jewish community,” says Arian. “It was a warm room full of a diverse group of students and community members, and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together.”
The Asbell Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and this event was one of several hosted by the center. On the coming Sunday, a full-day Celebration of Jewish Life, Learning & Leadership will take place. The festivities will continue during Alumni Weekend in June with another celebration of the center's 20th anniversary.
Published April 11, 2023