More than 1000 students gather to celebrate Shabbat

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More than 1000 students gathered on Newcomb Quad last Friday to eat dinner and celebrate Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.

This was the sixth Shabbat 1000 dinner sponsored by Hillel and Chabad at Tulane. Like any traditional Shabbat dinner, it began with the lighting of the candles at sunset and included a home-cooked Jewish meal. both Jewish and non-Jewish students attended the event.

Tualne Chabad hosts Shabbat dinners every Friday night for students. These dinners include a traditional Shabbat meal, Torah discourse and spirited discussions. Co-director of Chabad Sarah Rivkin said the weekly dinners at Chabad are popular with students.

“Shabbat is a really special time in the week,” Rivkin said. “It is a time where you unwind from the whole week and rejuvenate. People always come and eat food, hang out with friends and do something meaningful like talk about values. We have big Shabbat dinners every week but we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had a really big one once a year so that everyone could come together?'”

Tulane has a large Jewish community. Rivkin said celebrating Shabbat helps Jewish students celebrate their faith and help them feel like they are back home, and that Shabbat 1000 gives them a unique experience.

“I think it gives people a lot of good feelings and pride in being part of the Jewish community,” Rivkin said. “It is something that they remember even after they graduate.”

Freshman Talia Latch said she was excited about having such a large gathering of the Jewish community come together to celebrate their heritage and religion.

“I basically go to Shabbat every Friday, and this is just a more exciting Shabbat with so many more people than normal,” Latch said. “I know there are a lot of Jews at Tulane, but it is nice to see them come together for not only school purposes, but also religious purposes.”

Rivkin said the Shabbat dinners are always open to everyone who wants to attend, including non-Jewish people.

“I wanted to spend Shabbat with other Jews at Tulane and celebrate the end of the week together,” sophomore Emily Lubin said. “I think it is cool that so many people can come, and that a lot of non-Jewish people are here, too. It is great to show that this is a fun thing to do every Friday. It is religious, but it is also an easy way to unwind.”