Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Shabbat 1000 is big baba ga-news for Chabad

More+than+1100+students+gather+on+Newcomb+Quadrangle+for+Shabbat+1000.+Four-course+meals%2C+friends+and+religious+tradition+drew+students+to+the+event.
More than 1100 students gather on Newcomb Quadrangle for Shabbat 1000. Four-course meals, friends and religious tradition drew students to the event.

More than 1100 students gather on Newcomb Quadrangle for Shabbat 1000. Four-course meals, friends and religious tradition drew students to the event.

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Fenn

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Fenn

More than 1100 students gather on Newcomb Quadrangle for Shabbat 1000. Four-course meals, friends and religious tradition drew students to the event.

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At a school where 27 percent of the student body is Jewish, Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, is no minor venue. Yet, despite the hundreds of students who show up to weekly dinners, Rabbi Leibel Lipskier decided to raise the bar. 

Shabbat 1000, a Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center-sponsored event, was held at 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 on the Newcomb Quadrangle. More than 1100 students were present.

“Our motto is that there is always space for you at our Shabbos table,” Lipskier said. “Shabbat 1000 is the epitome of that.”

This was the ninth annual Shabbat 1000 and the biggest yet. Most of the food was prepared by students, including a Chabad student group, Sigma Delta Tau, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Epsilon Phi sororities and Zeta Beta Tau and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternities.

Sophomore Gabi Schwartz, a member of SDT, helped prepare for the event and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I thought it was an amazing event and I was so happy to be a part of it …” Schwartz said. “I thought it was awesome how so many Jewish students came together to celebrate Shabbat and just created a really great atmosphere, and it was just cool to see how the whole thing came together.”

Mushka Lipskier recruited more than 100 table heads who in turn invited 10-12 of their friends, with help from senior Brittany Gerstein who was in charge of student registration. More than 90 percent of students were Jewish, but many non-Jews were also in attendance. 

Freshman Jacob Morris is not Jewish, and Shabbat 1000 was a novel experience for him. He said he found it exciting to learn about the culture and felt welcomed.

“It was cool to be at such a large-scale event,” Morris said. “The sense of community was as strong as the matzah ball soup was delicious.”

Lipskier was pleased with the student turnout, encouraged that students enjoyed a wonderful evening of community and ritual.

“The feedback that has been coming after Shabbat 1000 is just mind-blowing. People have been excited about it even after it was over for days.”

In the upcoming weeks, Chabad will continue to host weekly Shabbat dinners, and will also have unique celebrations for Purim and Passover, two significant Jewish holidays in the spring. Lipskier hopes to replicate the success of Shabbat 1000 in the coming months, allowing every student at Tulane to feel warm and welcomed. 

“The event was far beyond our expectations,” Lipskier said. “Even though we have hundreds of students coming every week to Chabad … that’s not enough … it’s our goal to give every person an opportunity to get involved.”

Update Feb. 20: The article incorrectly referred to Pi Beta Phi as a fraternity, and misattributed the help of Mushka Lipskier and Brittany Gerstein.

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Shabbat 1000 is big baba ga-news for Chabad