This weekend was the first Hillel Dinner of Fall 2014, and it was packed, every seat taken. The new Hillel board did assigned seats by numbers that students got upon entry, to try and ensure that people would get to meet new people and mingle beyond their own circle of friends. Kosher Kitchen at Dutch prepared BBQ ribs which was a big treat. Being Nomi’s birthday was a big recurring theme, and she spoke about birthdays in Jewish tradition. Mendel spoke (atypically perhaps) about “Why we should all become fundamentalists…” and in addition to the 25+ new students we met last week at Opening/Freshmen Weekend at Shabbos House, we got to meet a few more!

At the Shabbos Day Minyan we celebrated Aaron W’s Bar-Mitzvah anniversary, his 9th since his original Bar-Mitzvah, and final time as a student at Shabbos House with a special Kiddush Club. He read all of Parsha Shoftim and the Haftorah, too. Special guests were Mendel’s brother Rabbi Yossi and Leyee of Clifton Park Chabad. This week, both our daughter Bassie and her cousin Mendel R. of Clifton Park celebrated their 9th birthdays (incidentally, the same year as Aaron’s Bar-Mitzvah). Bassie shared a 3D canvas she made with her siblings from the Rebbe’s HaYom Yom for her birthday. Mendel shared a Mishna from tractate Shabbos, by heart with translation. Many students were quite impressed by his fluid and eager recitation. At Shabbos Lunch we also celebrated the Hebrew birthday of Jenny A, Class of 2014, who came back up for a weekend visit.

This was Mushky’s last Shabbos before she flies to Israel this week to study in a seminary for the year. We are very happy for her, this is a big milestone!

We had a smaller turnout for the end of Shabbat meal, but a vibrant Dingaling Pirkei Avot discussion regardless. And yes, we had a Minyan for Maariv, which was led by Eliran R. a freshmen student in the Nanotech program. Some time after Havdalah there were lots of fireworks at Bob Ford Field at the conclusion of the football game vs. Holy Cross. UAlbany did eke out a win, 14-13, which is a great way to start the new year, with a new football coach!