Special Events are one-time events, activities or guest speakers that are unique highlights on our calendar.
JSAM – Jewish Social Action Month
JSAM is a project of the UJA of NY, which aims to make Cheshvan (a month without Jewish holidays) a time for focus on Social-Action projects and volunteering. Since 2011 we’ve been involved with this program, offering a different theme and focus each year with creative awareness and involvement opportunities for our students in a wide range of social-action projects.
TIC-TAC-TOE (2011) was our first JSAM serirs of events, it featured “What Makes You TIC?” with Marc Elliot, TACkling a tough piece of Talmud on the Ugly Man, and Get Your TOES wet volunteering at a carnival for children with special needs.
SOS&V (2012) Support Our Soldiers and Veterans included a Torah-Tuesday class on Soldier Sensitivity, and students decorated and packed 50+ packages for overseas soldiers and veterans, and heard veterans speak on their experiences in Iraq.
A4A@A (2013) is Action for Addiction at Albany, which will include speaker Rabbi Shais Taub on addiction from a Jewish perspective, a Shabbat dinner with a talk by a recovering addict and mentor, and volunteering opportunities raising funds and perhaps a toy-drive and doing some paint work for Hope House addiction recovery in Albany NY.
#HAPPYTOGO! (2014) featured Shmuel Greenbaum “from sadness to kindness, a UAlbany alum shares his response to terror”, two Torah-Tuesday classes on happiness, comedy by UAlbany alumnus Jerry Kahn after Shabbat dinner, and Happy-To-Go tabling with packages of fun for all.
These 4 awareness and volunteering projects have all been funded by a generous grant from UJA of NY’s JSAM project. The JSAM grant has since been discontinued but we look forward to bring this social-action awareness and involvement back in some form. Stay tuned!
Some speakers we’ve hosted include:
Dr. Edwin Yisroel Susskind: “Falling in Love, Staying in Love” and “We Need To Talk” on Shabbat weekends.
Dr. Tzvi Yehudah Victor Saks (of blessed memory) expert on Artificial Intelligence, at our first-ever Bagel Brunch
Rabbi Simcha Weinstein: Campus Chabad Rabbi at Pratt and Author of “Up, Up & Oy Vey” and more recently, “Shtick Shift”.
Rabbi Doron Kornbluth: Author of “Why Marry Jewish?” on surprising reasons against intermarriage
Rabbi Joel Zeff: taught several Torah-Tues classes, as representative of various Yeshivot in Israel
and many others…
Matisyahu for “Extreme Chanukah 2004” in the Campus Center Commons
Oneg Shemesh from Israel at a Sukkah celebration, co-sponsored by JERNY