Hillel, the Jewish student organization, invites the HWS community to join them for their annual Shabbat 250 event on Friday, March 6. The goal is to gather 250 students, faculty, and staff to celebrate Shabbat together. The event will take place in the Vandervort Room in the Scandling Campus Center at 6:30 p.m.
Julianne Miller, interim director for the Abbe Center and Hillel adviser, says that Shabbat 250 will include many of the traditional Shabbat prayers and rituals. The ceremony will begin with a blessing over candles, “bringing the light of Shabbat into our hearts and lives,” Miller explains. The evening will continue with a blessing over wine or grape juice, which is a symbol of joy in Judaism, and a blessing over challah bread that will be followed by a shared meal.
Kosher Shabbat dinners began after the dedication of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life in 2007 and have been a strong HWS tradition ever since. Each week students gather to participate in traditional Shabbat rituals and enjoy a shared meal with others from the HWS community. Sodexo provides a traditional kosher Jewish meal each week for members from the HWS community to enjoy.
“We take time to step back from the craziness of everyday life to reconnect with our friends, our families, and our tradition,” says Miller. “Jews everywhere are connected by this weekly ritual. For all of us, Shabbat is something that connects to each other and to the Jewish community.”
The Abbe Center will also be holding several other upcoming events to celebrate Purim, the Jewish holiday that commemorates Jewish deliverance as told in the Book of Esther. To celebrate the event, students can gather at the Abbe Center on Sunday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy bagels and Hamantaschen baking, the traditional treat eaten during Purim. On Wednesday, March 4, students are also invited to join with the Temple Beth-El community for the reading of the Megillah – the scroll containing the story of Purim – and a pizza dinner. Students can continue in the celebrations on Sunday, March 8, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Purim Carnival at Temple Beth-El on South Main Street.
Miller also says that in the spirit of Purim, which commands that we “give to those less fortunate than ourselves,” the Abbe Center will be collecting non-perishable food items and toiletries at Shabbat 250 to donate to people in our community who are in need.
The Abbe Center holds many other events for the Jewish community throughout the year such as the Rosh Hashanah Eve dinner, the pre-fast dinner before Yom Kippur, Pasta Night during the Sukkoth holiday, and the Holocaust Awareness Week programs. The events are open to all regardless of religious affiliation.
Kosher Shabbat dinners are held on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Abbe Center for Jewish Life, with a usual gathering of 35 to 55 people. If students are interested in attending the weekly Shabbat dinner, they can RSVP by 4:30 on the Wednesday before to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Shabbat 250, please RSVP to Shabbat250@hws.edu by Monday, March 2 to be counted.