This Friday, Jan. 29, the Abbe Center for Jewish Life invites students to attend a special-themed version of its weekly dinner program, titled “Green Shabbat.” In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability and the HWS EcoRep organization, the dinner will promote Jewish culture and its commitment to caring for the environment.
The “Green Shabbat” event coincides with the celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for trees. Attendees can expect to sample a variety of fruit options that are native to Israel and that are mentioned in the Torah, including olives, dates, figs, pomegranates and grapes.
“The name Tu B’Shevat refers to the date of the festival – the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, and it occurs at the beginning of spring in Israel,” explains Director of the Abbe Center Julianne Miller. “These fruits allow us to recite a blessing that is said when we do something for the first time, or for the first time in a while, that thanks God for nurturing us and bringing us to this special time.”
In keeping with the tradition of honoring nature, the “Green Shabbat” dinner will reflect efforts to care for the earth. Hillel, the student organization for Jewish students, will provide information on Israel’s environmental initiatives as well as highlight what steps students can take to better serve the environment.
Additionally, EcoReps from the Office of Sustainability will be in attendance to explain how to become more involved in sustainability efforts on campus and provide guidance for environmentally friendly practices.
“This is a time for us to celebrate nature and to learn and focus on what we could be doing to take better care of the world around us,” reflects Miller. “If students are passionate about caring for the environment, this event is the place to be on Friday night.”
The Abbe Center and Hillel host Shabbat dinners at 6:30 p.m. each Friday night, with a usual gathering of 35 to 55 people. Dinners started following the 2007 dedication of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life and have remained a strong HWS tradition. Each week students gather to celebrate Shabbat, light candles and say prayers over the wine/juice and challah. Sodexo provides the traditional kosher meal each week.
Students who are interested should RSVP by midnight on the Wednesday prior to firstname.lastname@example.org.