Following Hillel’s “Week of Awesome” (series of events nearly every day) the Friday Night Dinner was by Hillel on the third floor of the Campus Center. The menu was Chinese (Kosher prepared by Dutch Kosher Kitchen – Sodhexo, under Vaad supervision) and the main course (stir-fry chicken, veggie lo-mein, egg rolls etc) was served a buffet on two sides of Room 375. The room was quite filled and it was really nice to see faces who haven’t been at Shabbat dinner for much of the semester. For one, his last Jewish dinner was on Sukkot. The Hillel Rock cafe fundraiser the evening before was well attended and a great success raising nearly $500 for the “Cancer Shmancer” organization. The buzz of Rock Cafe may have helped bring some people in for Friday Night dinner.

Special guests included a prospective student from Westchester, he and his family joined for services and dinner. Both his parents are UAlbany alumni, who were active in Hillel back in the day, and have memories of the old Chapel House (further back in the woods) before the fire, and were happy to see vibrant Jewish life and activity.

Shabbos Day we had a nice Minyan, read the story of Vayishlach (Jacob wrestling with the Angel, preparing for the encounter with Esav, the story with Dina and Shechem, Rachel’s passing etc) and ended early enough that we were even able to daven Mincha before Lunch. This is the time of year when an early pre-Lunch Mincha is possible. Shabbos Lunch was Shabbos Lunch, great food (the Cholent texture and taste was exceptional), good atmosphere, and Mendel shared the sequel to the Mincha story.

Despite a very short afternoon, we managed to have a light Shalosh-Seudos meal before the end of Shabbos. A little singing, a little shmoozing. Rabbi Mendel shared inspiration from UAlbany Coach Bob Ford in honor of his final home football game being played that very afternoon. We were nine for the Minyan Maariv, but somehow mustered ten mid-prayer. After Havdalah we went outside to say “Kiddush Levana” on a nearly full moon.

Sat Night was the first Pizza Night of the season at the Maimonides School. Mushky, Chani and their HS friends worked all night churning out pizzas, fries and garlic knots (and sushi rolls) from “Nathan’s Kitchen” at Maimonides. It was a great turnout, they did very well, it was a great fundraiser for their extra-curricular programming. Thanks for the UAlbany student support – a few students came over to eat in, and others ordered for take-out.

Sunday’s Minyan looked tight at first, especially as we are missing a few key players this weekend, but we ended up having a great Minyan, maybe about 15 guys in all. This Minyan was dedicated in memory of alumni Rob Klein’s paternal grandfather,(yartzeit on this day) a dedicated Jew with fighting spirit who saved lives during the Holocaust and fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.