Religious Occurrences and Celebration Support

Simmons University celebrates and appreciates a wide range of cultural and religious occurrences and holidays. Please be mindful of the following religious observances during the academic year that may require accommodation and are observed by a meaningful proportion of the Simmons community.  This list is not exhaustive of all holidays or observances, nor active religious communities on campus.  We ask that you share with us any widely recognized cultural or religious observances you believe should be included.

Communications

Spiritual Life at Simmons would like to wish our Muslim students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, and friends a Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)!

This year, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins on Saturday, April 2nd, and continues through Monday, May 2nd. Ramadan is a month of fasting, worship, and charity to build spiritual awareness and resilience. The beginning and end dates may vary by one day depending on different schools of thought within the Islamic tradition.

Ramadan commemorates the month during which the Prophet Mohammed Peace be upon him, received the first revelations of the Holy Quran, the central religious text of Islam. This month of fasting for Muslims is a time for spiritual reflection and intense study of the Quran and a time for generosity towards others, specially the less fortunate. This annual observance is one the 5 pillars of Islam: Confession of Faith, Five Daily Prayers, Fasting in Ramadan, Zakah (almsgiving), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Fasting during Ramadan means abstinence from all food and drink, including water and chewing gum. It starts with a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor and ends at sunset. The fast is broken with an evening meal called Iftar, usually with friends and family who come together to pray and eat at homes or mosques.

After Ramadan, Muslims celebrate a three-day holiday called Eid-ul-Fitr. On this Eid Muslims pray the holiday prayer in congregation in the morning, give charity, visit family and friends, and celebrate with food, gifts and activities for children.

Simmons fully supports students and staff in practicing their faith and recognizes the importance of Ramadan within the Islamic faith.

For Community Members Observing Ramadan

Daily Prayer Space & Reflection Space

Prayer and reflection space for all students, faculty and staff are available on both the residence and academic campuses. Both locations are open at all times. You can find the spaces on the Residence Campus: Smith Basement and Academic Campus: Room C-230E.

Space Guidelines

The room is to be used for prayer/meditation and religious observances and not as a lounge, study room, meeting room, or other purposes not involved with prayer/meditation. Please respect the requirement for a peaceful, quiet atmosphere.

Please keep the room clean. All personal and group materials will be removed from the space after use. Spiritual Life's materials/items and furniture must remain in the facility and be restored to the original position.

Multicultural Center (MCC) Resource & Campus Celebrations

As Ramadan serves as a time of spiritual awareness, reflection, and resilience, The MCC wants you to stay organized and be intentional with this time. The MCC will be providing copies of a Ramadan Daily Planner. Please grab a few from the Multicultural Center (C-101), Spiritual Life Office (C-230 E), and click the link above to print copies for yourself.

Campus Celebrations

Simmons Islamic Society will be hosting their annual Ramadan Iftaar Dinner Event, which will be held on April 9th, 2022 from 6:15 - 8:00 pm in Alumnae Hall. Guest speaker for this years event is Dr. Celine Ibrahim, who teaches and is the Muslim chaplain at the Groton School. She will be speaking on the theme of "Spiritual Liberation."

The REEF Support Center, in partnership with Spiritual Life and the Multicultural Center will be hosting a MCC/REEF Iftaar Dinner on April 20th 7:30pm on the Academic Campus. All community members are welcome. Additional information will be shared on social media.

For questions, inquiries, and partnerships, email [email protected], Muslim Advisor, Sumaira Afzal at [email protected], and/or the Multicultural Center at [email protected].

For Faculty, Instructors, and Staff

We understand that for many Muslim students, it can be intimidating to reach out and ask for the support necessary to succeed in class while also observing the holy month of Ramadan. Please consider taking the following steps to support students in your class who observe Ramadan (Note: Avoid stereotyping Muslims by taking these steps even if you don’t have any students who ‘look Muslim’ in your estimation.) Students may be hungry, tired, or dehydrated in class, especially if you see them in the afternoon.

Consider announcing to the class that they may request an accommodation if they would like one and that they should speak to you in order to make those arrangements.
Be thoughtful regarding any decision about serving food in class (or end-of-year celebrations, however well-intentioned) during the period of time during which Muslim students may be fasting.

If you hold a recognition ceremony or celebration for students in your program or organization, consider having it later in the evening so all students may participate fully.

Guides

Simmons University does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information, or veterans status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. We understand that the beginning of Ramadan may bring added stress to our Muslim students, and want to offer our assistance in navigating the month while fulfilling your spiritual obligations and observances.

If you require support or assistance, please reach out to your instructor to request one. If you would like help in doing so or require further assistance, please reach out to Student Affairs at [email protected].

 

Spiritual Life at Simmons would like to wish all our Jewish students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i and friends a Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday) for Passover! May you enjoy this season of spring, which brings with it hope for renewal and freedom for the Jewish People and all peoples, with you and your family and friends.

Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is a Jewish holiday observed from Friday, April 15th to Saturday, April 23rd. Passover commemorates the story and journey of Israel's redemption from slavery in Egypt and celebrates freedom and family.

The Seder is the traditional Passover meal, eaten on the first two nights of Passover. The Passover Seder can represent a blend of new teachings brought to the table by children, traditions and practices passed on by adults, and shared gratitude for this moment together.

Multicultural Center (MCC) Resources & Campus Celebrations

Campus Celebrations

  • Passover Spill the Tea 4/19 at 7pm in the Evans Basement Lounge and Kosher Kitchen:
    Join Simmons Hillel as we enjoy kosher for Passover snacks and tea!
  • Passover Luncheon 4/21 at 12pm in the Knight Board Room:
    Come join Simmons Hillel for a Passover luncheon and learn. All are welcome! A catered Kosher for Passover lunch will be provided by the Butcherie.

For questions, inquiries, and partnerships, email [email protected], Hillel Advisor, Julia Barron at [email protected], and/or the Multicultural Center at [email protected].

Traditional Observances

  • Jewish families clean out the physical presence of “chametz” leavened bread and anything from the major grains that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water. Eating unleavened bread and eating Kosher for Passover food commemorates the fact that the Jews left Egypt in a hurry and did not have time to let their bread rise.
  • The Pesach observance extends for eight days. On the first two nights of Pesach, a Seder meal is held with family and friends. A liturgy found in the Haggadah is recited, and it is an obligation to recount this story on the first night of Passover. Foods are consumed to symbolize the story of the exodus.

Tips for Supporting the Simmons Community

  • For community members who are in observance, ask how they celebrate and how they can be supported and encouraged.
  • Be sensitive to meals at events, programs, and snacks during Pesach and consider providing a Kosher for Pesach meal or option for those observing.
  • While students are not automatically excused from class for this observance, they may work with their course instructors. Students must refer to their own school and departmental policies for more specific information.
  • Staff members may request paid time off for this observance. Support their preference to take leave for their religious observance.

Simmons University does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information, or veterans status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. We understand that the beginning of Ramadan may bring added stress to our Muslim students, and want to offer our assistance in navigating the month while fulfilling your spiritual obligations and observances.

If you require accommodation or assistance, please reach out to your instructor to request one. If you would like help in doing so or require further assistance, please reach out to Student Affairs at [email protected].