Local religious organizations center eclipse day around enjoyment, appreciation

OSWEGO, N.Y. — The Hall Newman Center and Chabad of Oswego are both looking forward to enjoying eclipse day by hosting activities for their students.

Michael Huynh is the director of campus ministry at the Newman Center, the Christian group that serves the SUNY Oswego campus. Huynh said that before the eclipse the organization plans to host something special for its students.

“On the weekend leading up to the eclipse, we are hosting a retreat, April 5-6 for students called “Spring Reset” where one of the sessions will be about being light in the world. We thought it was an appropriate session considering the eclipse is only a few days after,” Huynh said.

Students going on the Newman Center retreat will leave campus Friday at 5 p.m. and come back to campus at 2 p.m. the following day. It is free and open to all students and transportation is provided. Those interested can email newctr@oswego.edu  for more details.  

The Newman Center
The Newman Center is just behind campus on 36 New St. Photo by: Lauren Royce

Yossi Madvig is the rabbi of Chabad Oswego, which also serves the SUNY Oswego campus, and said that day-of plans are set to be low-key, focusing on enjoying the moment and inviting students over to enjoy some kosher snacks.

“Nothing big, I know there’s people coming up,” Madvig said. “Just gonna hang out and watch the eclipse, nothing big or fancy.”

Madvig also said that his house has a great view of the sun, so the need to relocate to another area in town won’t be necessary. Eclipse glasses have been purchased and, Madvig added, “As long as it’s not cloudy, should be good.”

Celestial events such as the upcoming total solar eclipse have been historically viewed as signs in some way or another across religions. In Christianity, they have been seen as signs of or from God, according to Huynh.

“Christianity also embraces the natural world with great awe and reverence and seeks to understand it,” Huynh said.

In Judaism, eclipses have historically been viewed as omens, which shift depending on the type. According to chabad.org, the Talmud says a solar eclipse is seen as bad luck for the world whereas a lunar eclipse can be seen as a bad sign for the Jewish nation specifically.

“There’s a little bit, there’s something about the difference between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse,” Madvig said. “But it’s not really something that’s really focused on so much, to my knowledge, it’s more of just one of those ‘Cool! That’s really neat!’ [things.]”

Madvig said that while some of those beliefs do exist, they are not commonly practiced. “But there is a tradition of that, it’s just very obscure,” Madvig said, “and I would even venture to say not widely known.”