Hillel President Tzipora Glaser ’18 says she enjoys taking part in Shabbat because of the opportunities it has given her and her classmates to make lasting connections to their heritage and to meet new friends.
In welcoming remarks to guests at this year’s annual celebration, Glaser reflected on how the tradition of Shabbat has allowed her to observe customs from home, while in the company of her friends and peers at the Colleges. “We hope you enjoy Shabbat, feel surrounded by community, and find meaning in being in the present,” she said.
Every Friday since the Abbe Center for Jewish Life was established in 2007, students have gathered for Kosher Shabbat dinners, celebrating the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Dinner is prepared and served from the Tina Wasserman Kosher Kitchen, allowing cooking staff to prepare meals using separate kosher cookware and utensils.
HWS Shabbat, which was previously called Shabbat 250, shares this tradition with the entire HWS community. This year, the celebration took place on March 9 in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center and was attended by more than 220 students, faculty and staff.
Edith Falk ’21, a first-year liaison on the Hillel board, led attendees in the lighting and blessing of the candles before dinner, signifying the welcoming of Shabbat. Jordannah Schreiber ’18 and Sarah Walters ’19 also spoke and blessed the wine, grape juice and challah bread.
During dinner, Abbe Center Director Julianne Miller highlighted the importance of community and its influence on Jewish life on campus. “Jewish rituals are enriched by community,” she said. “This community has come together with the common goal of learning about or celebrating Shabbat.”
Kelsey Rowley ’18 filmed and edited a video about Shabbat that debuted at dinner.
Meghan Quint ’21 said attending weekly Shabbat dinners and serving on the Hillel board have given her new exciting experiences in her first year at the Colleges. “Before coming to HWS, I had a little bit of exposure to my Jewish heritage but not as much as I’d like,” said Quint. “This was a great way for me to become more educated and get information about my family’s history.”
In a note to campus, Professor of Media and Society Linda Robertson expressed her gratitude for the event and the Colleges’ commitment to religious diversity. “The dinner represented HWS at its best: learning from one another’s background and intellectual interests, and a genuine acceptance that goes well beyond tolerance for difference to engagement with what is unique about each of us, so that we help one another to become the best in each of us,” Robertson said.