It so happens that Hillel Shabbat Dinner (we alternate Friday Nights at UAlbany for decades now) went with Nintendo-themed decor.

Not sure I ever played Mario, I never had one myself, but GameBoy came out maybe a year or two before my Bar-Mitzvah. It was a big deal then. Pretty sure I remember when GameBoy COLOR came out, and my that was big. It feels as if remembering when Color TV started! These handhelds were literally game-changers, and the start of a whole new genre of entertainment.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything we see or hear can and should be a lesson in our service of G-d. What’s to be learned from Mario?

Mario is a simple humble but persistent and determined plumber in the Mushroom Kingdom. So much is thrown at him, he has so much to overcome! Powerups help him in this ordeal. They enable him to have special powers and abilities, to turn adversaries and challenges into opportunities, curses into blessings!

We can always use Power-Ups to get through everyday challenges. We may be ordinary plain ‘ol Mario’s, but we can go a lot further with these boosts of energy and ability, transforming our surroundings, literally allowing us to change our realities.

“Shabbat 360” is coming up! We’re looking to triple or more our ordinary Shabbat dinner attendance for the largest Shabbat dinner of the year at UAlbany! It will take many of us Mario’s, all of us reaching out to friends and faculty, people-to-people connections. And for each of us to be boosted, powered-up, to enable us to reach more and more UAlbany students. It is always beneficial to be boosted thus, but especially, most importantly, in times like these!