MRJ Reform on Campus 2



Emory University

Before dinner we had Reform services in our Chapel at Hillel where we had both Jewish and Indian Emory students in attendance.

Russian Jewish Division, JUF: With the support from the Men of Reform Judaism, Russian Jewish Division was able to organize great programs and celebrations for Russian-speaking Jewish students. The events and programs were organized in partnership with the Hillels of Illinois. The grants gave us the opportunity to offer uniquely tailored Reform style Shabbat experience at the University of Illinois and 4  ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions for the students on 4 different campuses. 

Temple Hillel

The night began with a Camp Schmooze at Hillel where we served "bug juice," cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, pretzels, and more. At the Camp Schmooze, student alumni came together and mingled, which was great since they are all originally from different camps and youth groups. We enjoyed lovely conversation and then had Conservative and Reform camp-style services (I led the Reform one!). In my service, students shared memories and lessons they have taken from camp and youth group to college, and it was very heart-warming.

University of Vermont

I was an active participant in the group when Ben was running it and got to know some of the core members who really enjoyed being able to gather around food regularly, so when I took over I had a feel for what people wanted from this group. Over hummus or matzah ball soup or macaroons I discovered that there are many students out there like me who are passionate about celebrating Judaism, but would much rather be part of something that is student crafted and student run. My goal was to set up an event every week for the remainder of the semester to provide that setting that students here are really looking for, and it was a success!

Georgia State

We made a huge pot of chicken soup with matzoh balls as well as Mexican empanadas- truly going with the multicultural, diverse theme of Shabbat. Along with that we had challah, hummus and other dips, potato kugel, cole slaw, deli, zucchini soufflé, schnitzel, Tabouli salad, Moroccan carrot salad, guacamole and Persian Rice with cupcakes and melon (cut by students) for desert. It was really interesting to see a plate with so many different ‘genres’ of food! It was also very satisfying to truly learn about other students’ cultures through the food preparation process. 

We lit Shabbat candles together and students mingled and talked pleasantly. We made sure all students were able to say the prayer by following a call and response format with the Hebrew words. While there were many Reform students at the dinner, after candle lighting we refrained from taking any more pictures in order to respect and embrace  observant students.
Around thirty people showed up for dinner- in fact, we thought we would run out of chairs! One student joked that we could truly celebrate his Middle-Eastern Heritage by sitting on the carpeted floor whilst eating our meal. 

We went around the table(s) and each student shared a little bit about where he/she was coming from and we talked about our Shabbat traditions. We said the blessings over the Challah, the wine, and the blessing over the children.

Students chatted and ate and relaxed at the Shabbat table—some people meeting each other for the very first time. To close off the night we sang the Grace After Meals together and sang Shabbat songs together.

Thank you so much for helping make Shabbat Around the World such a success!