This is the front page letter in our Spring/Summer 2015 “What’s Cooking” Update Newsletter


Generally speaking, at Shabbos House we’re not that focused on numbers. We pride ourselves on appreciating each individual student, recognizing their unique personality, talents and contributions that make up the fabric of our campus community.

But this year is different! Rosh Hashanah begins the “Hakhel – Year of Gathering” recalling the biblical national gathering at the Jerusalem Temple on the Sukkot holiday for connection and inspiration. There’s strength in numbers, especially when unified! The Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged modern-day Hakhel gatherings, for inspirational get-togethers all year long.

While we try to stay focused on each individual, cumulatively that builds a crowd. That’s one of the things that make Friday Nights here so special. Large groups of Jewish students, from all backgrounds and levels of observance, join together to enjoy a Shabbat as a campus community. The energy in the room is palpable and engaging. Hakhel spirit every year, all year long.

That’s another thing about Hakhel. The Mitzvah dates to biblical times before digital technology, but what made it special was that it was a live in-person gathering. So much productivity and social-interaction happens today behind closed doors in front of a screen. Woody Allen said “80% of life is just showing up!” Whether his percentages were right or not, Hakhel IS about showing up; being there and being part of it makes all the difference.

Of course, with Hakhel coming up this year, we’re going to put more focus on larger events. We look forward to “Shabbat 360” in the Campus Center Ballroom co-sponsored with Hillel and other Jewish campus groups, a Mega Havdalah at the new Fountain, and going down with a group to the International Chabad on Campus Shabbaton in Brooklyn, among other special Hakhel-esque events. In addition to the large-scale events planned for this Hakhel-Year, we’ve also received a special grant for the “Shalom Project” to focus on small group-bonding experiences, including fire-pits, movie-nights and local outings.

Shabbos House funding also operates on a Hakhel-model. Some organizations receive most of their support from foundations, federations, or a few wealthy individuals. Not Shabbos House. Most of our support comes from a wide spectrum of parents, alumni and community friends – at all types of giving levels. Some give once a year, others give monthly, or for special events or specific needs. It’s Crowd-Funding (aka Hakhel-Funding!) that makes Shabbos House possible!

Please join the crowd! Join us in person, or follow us virtually on social-media and at our continuously updated website. Parents, alumni and friends: please join the growing community of supporters at whatever contribution-level works for you.


Thank you! Rabbi Mendel & Raizy Rubin & Family and the many students who call Shabbos House home each year!