By Nicole Kirkner
Six positions of this university’s Kedma Board will be elected today, with nine hopeful candidates looking to secure votes by addressing the community and answering any final questions Saturday during Kiddush.
Kedma, the Orthodox Jewish group at this university will be electing a new vice president, social chair, education chair, chesed chair, fundraising chair, and technical chair for the spring semester.
Kedma President Tova Rosenthal said she encourages the community to read each of the candidate’s applications since “they will play a major role in shaping the future of our community.”
All board members are elected to serve one semester except for those running for vice president, which is a year-long commitment. First they serve a semester as vice president, and then become president the following semester once a new vice president is elected.
Kedma’s goal is to provide the Orthodox community with “all of the necessary ingredients to furthering the Jewish lifestyle within the framework of a secular university,” according to the website. To do this, the group provides at least three minyanim, which is a prayer service consisting of at least ten jewish adults, and, through Hillel, three Kosher meals every day. Kedma also holds two different Kabbalat Shabbat services every Friday night, either at Hillel or at one of the kosher apartments around campus. With many planned events throughout the year, Kedma aims to allow students to comfortably “keep their level of observance within a secular university, while still being a part of the larger campus community.”
Sara Linder, a sophomore marketing and English major, is the current chesed chair, which is responsible for planning charitable Kedma events focused on giving back. She is one of two vice presidential candidates for Kedma this semester.
“Kedma plays such a big role in the college careers of many Jewish students, and is not a group to be taken for granted,” said Linder on her candidate application. “I want to continue being a part of creating a community that is welcoming and open, providing events and opportunities for all of our students.”
Linder said the Kedma community has become her home away from home at this university and she wants to continue to strengthen the community, which is one reason she is running for vice president. She said working on the application took a lot of effort.
“I have spent a long time over the course of the semester considering what I want to do to strengthen and improve our community,” she said. “The application definitely took me several days, so I had time to really think about how to express my views and goals. Over the last week, I made flyers and wrote my speech.”
To apply for the board, candidates submit an application, explaining what their goals for the community are and how they plan to achieve them. Candidates’ applications are then sent out to the community. They have a little over a week to campaign after they submit their application. After campaigning they addressed the community Saturday morning, each with a short speech, followed by a questions and answer session before voting began, Rosenthal said.
The process is completely student-run, which keeps the community student focused.
Ballots are emailed to the current undergraduate students on the Kedma listserv and they have a few days to make their final decisions and fill out the ballot, which is a survey through Survey Monkey.
Craig Wasserman, a junior dietetics and kinesiology major, said the community takes the elections seriously and hopes that the new leadership continues on the success of the current board.
“The most recent leadership team has done an amazing job creating a sense of community and we are looking for our next Kedma board to continue building on this success,” said Wasserman “It is important for our leaders to be engaging to the Kedma and non-Kedma community.”
Polling began Saturday, Dec. 3 and will conclude tonight at 8 p.m.