By Michael Mullen
This past Friday, Chabad, one of the Jewish organizations at Union, hosted a large Shabbat dinner at Hale House. The dinner was sponsored by Bryan Grover ‘14 and his family in memory of his grandmother who recently passed away.
For anyone who does not know much about Judaism or what a Shabbat dinner is, Chabad President Ilan Levine ‘16 shared what Shabbat means to him. Speaking of the “special spice” that makes Shabbat a celebration, Levine said, “It comes from putting aside your weekly responsibilities, taking a moment to look back on your week and from coming together to create a community in which we all re-energize together, eat together and sing together.”
“One of Union’s best kept secrets, Chabad’s Shabbat dinners focus on family, tradition and of course, delicious homemade kosher food!” said Laiky Rubin, wife of Chabad Rabbi Shmuly Rubin and resident of the Chabad House on Seward Place. Shabbat dinner has been a tradition of Chabad for many years and has expanded from an average attendance of five to 10 students to an attendance of 40 to 60 students. Perhaps most notably, students are not all Jewish. Chabad welcomes all students, and many Jewish students bring their friends to have a new experience. The diverse community represents the wonderful growth of the Union campus as a whole.
The purpose of having such a large event is to create a major showing of Jewish pride and unity. The dinner was started in 2011 as “Shabbat 100.” Each year, the Chabad student board has endeavored to grow the attendance. This year, students joined the Dutch Pipers in singing a traditional Hebrew song and after the customary prayers, the festive meal began.
The delicious menu for the evening included matzah ball soup and homemade challah bread. Served by members of the Chabad board and student volunteers, the attendees were treated to a night of friendly conversation and laughter.
Students coordinated the entire event. All of the food was prepared by volunteers and many hands pitched in to set up. “It’s amazing to see how many students dedicated their time and energy to make this event a success,” said Laiky. “They made it their personal responsibility to bring as many friends as possible.”
This huge Shabbat dinner is sure to continue for many years to come. Chabad sponsors a Shabbat dinner every Friday night at the house on Seward, which is open to the entire campus community. Students can expect to hear stories about Jewish history, prayers, songs and share weekly highlights. It is a great way to expand your understanding of a different religion while enjoying friendly company and a rare home cooked meal.