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Sabbath-Observant U. Of Maryland Students Graduate In Alternative Ceremony

(JTA) — The University of Maryland hosted an alternative graduation to accommodate 22 observant Jewish students who could not receive their diplomas at the regular graduation, which took place on the Sabbath.

The full university commencement was held on Sunday, May 21, but 19 of the university’s 34 individual colleges held their ceremonies on Saturday, according to

The campus’s Hillel and Chabad student centers requested that the administration hold an alternative ceremony on Sunday, to which the university agreed.

On Sunday afternoon in the atrium of the student union building, each student was called up by name and received his or her diploma from William Cohen, the associate provost and dean for undergraduate studies, who represented the university.

“This graduation ceremony is separate from and still a part of the University of Maryland graduation exercises,” Paul Hamburger, a senior partner in the international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP and a member of the Chabad on Campus international advisory board, said during his commencement speech. “It is a testament to how you can find a balance between your Jewish identity and your integration into the world at large.”


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