Interfaith Chaplaincy

"Dwelling Place" Celebrates, Teaches about Sukkot

“Dwelling Place”, an installation by award winning Maine Sculptor Asherah Cinnamon, can be seen and experienced from October 12 through October 22 on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine. The structure is temporary public art based on Jewish customs in celebration of the annual Festival of Sukkot, and is designed to meet traditional kosher standards.

This is an opportunity for anyone interested in Jewish culture, religion, or tradition to pay attention to the spiritual connection between humans and nature that is at the core this tradition. Designed for Hillel of Southern Maine, “Dwelling Place” will be in front of Luther Bonney Hall, near Bedford Street.

During the week long Festival, weather permitting, traditional Jews live, eat, and sleep in a temporary booth called a Sukkah. The Sukkah (the plural, Sukkot, is also the name of the Festival) is both a celebration of the fall harvest and a reminder of the years ancient Jews spent wandering through the desert in search of the promised land, after their escape from slavery in Egypt.

There will be two events in conjunction with this installation. 

Hillel of Southern Maine will sponsor a Break for Bagels for students in the Sukkah from 9:30am to 11am on October 12.

Artist Asherah Cinnamon will lead 20 minute informal “Artist Talk and Walk” sessions in the Sukkah and will provide a hands-on opportunity to learn about and participate in the project between 2:30 and 5:30 PM on Monday October 17th (rain date October 18th same times): Open to the public with special invitation to students, faculty, and staff of southern Maine’s  colleges and universities.

Sponsored by Hillel of Southern Maine in cooperation with the University of Southern Maine; funded by a Linda and Joel Abromson Fund Award.   For more information about the artist :

Hillel of Southern Maine: Southern Maine Hillel on Facebook.

Religious and Spiritual Life Updates - Fall 2013

Religious and Spiritual Life Updates - Fall 2013


With the recent retirement of Andrea Thompson McCall, there have been some changes with USM's Religious and Spiritual Life program (previously known as the Interfaith Chaplaincy).

Previously located in the historic Deering Farmhouse at 23 Brighton Ave, the program is now housed within Portland Student Life in the Woodbury Campus Center.  The chaplains and advisors have formed the Religious and Spiritual Life Council, chaired by Rabbi Hillel Katzir and Rev. Rus Willette.  Sarah Holmes, Assistant Director for Student Life and Diversity, will be serving as the administrative liaison for the Council.

Additionally, there is a new meditation and interfaith prayer room in Portland Student Life, that students, faculty, and staff may access during regular business hours.

Any help that you could provide in helping students connect with our programs in our new home, would be greatly appreciated.


Sarah Holmes, Administrative Liasion

Rabbi Hillel Katzir and Rev. Rus Willette, Council Co-Chairs