This Fall 2023 most of the Fall Jewish holidays fall on weekends. That’s less conflict for students or working folks. We will be hosting all festive meals and holiday prayers – though some may go home (especially as its on weekends) for one or more of the holiday segments. Students are of course very welcome. The holidays are indeed a very special time here at Shabbos House Chabad!
Click on calendar image to enlarge the image or click here for a handy PDF calendar of the Fall 2023 Jewish Holiday season of the Jewish holiday Fall 2023 season at UAlbany, all the prayers, festive meals and celebration at Shabbos House, this year from mid September to mid-October.
See below for updated specifics (schedules and menus and more) for each of the holidays. Click on each holiday’s tab.
There is no cost to students for any holiday meals or prayers. There’s no dress code, no attendance, no expectations. Prayers are traditional but explained and student-centered and student-friendly. Feel free to come early or late or just for the meals, whatever works best for you.
While we do not generally ask for RSVPs, they are especially helpful on holidays when we’re not sure who is going home vs. staying. While we don’t hold you to your RSVP (and you can also update your entry on the form later) and students without RSVP are welcome, of course, it is helpful to use this High Holiday RSVP 2023 form to let us know if you will be here or home for Rosh Hashanah, if your family is joining you for Sukkot/Family Weekend, and if you are staying up here to celebrate even though Simchat Torah falls on Fall Weekend this year.
These are wonderful times of Jewish celebration, student-centered and student-friendly, with good food, good friends, good times. Each holiday offers a special flavor and atmosphere and creates a special set of memories. Sukkot and Simchat Torah are especially rich in celebration, connection and are very memorable times at Shabbos House.
CLASSES ON THE HOLIDAYS
UAlbany does not give off for the holidays anymore, there will be classes on Rosh Hashanah (this year on a weekend anyways) and Yom Kippur (Sunday night into Monday), though some teachers may cancel, most will very easily excuse. All faculty are notified that religious holidays (and they have a University list of them) are excused absences and if there are tests or such on those days students are very much entitled to ask to have them rescheduled.
This year for 5784/ 2023 most of the holidays happen to fall on weekends, but students can still be excused for travel time if going home or for additional time if assignments are limited to the weekend etc and there’s little other time to get it done.
Obviously, out of respect and courtesy, students should not tell this to the professor last minute, it is best that they are told of your observance dates and observance level at least a week or more prior.
Not all students observe the holidays the same way. Some will go home to be with family, some will miss class to attend services and holiday meals, some will attend class but not write or take tests – whatever your or your family’s observance level or style, this is something UAlbany is committed to respect.
Email Shabbos House with “Holiday Letter” in the subject line and Rabbi Mendel will personalize a holiday letter for you to share with your professors with dates and details. Please explain to the professors which holiday dates you will be absent, not writing, or not taking tests etc, depending on your/your family’s observance. Better yet, use the High Holiday RSVP 2023 form and scroll down for the Religious Letter section.
If there should be any issues with any professor in this regard please contact Rabbi Mendel and the Deans Office and they will promptly address it.
ROSH HASHANAH 2023 AT UALBANY
All Rosh Hashanah prayer services and holiday meals will be at Shabbos House. In addition, there will be a quick and accessible Shofar Express with holiday treats at a Small Fountain campus table from 3-5pm on Sunday afternoon of Rosh Hashanah.
RSVPs are not required, but they are helpful so we can be best prepared. Are you here for Rosh Hashanah or part of it? We don’t usually ask for RSVPs unless its especially hard for us to gauge: Here’s the Rosh Hashanah Signup Form.
FIRST NIGHT, FRIDAY, SEPT 15:
Prayers 7pm, holiday dinner at 8pm (this is night of apple and challah dipped in honey, and eating pomegranate seeds etc, plus a full-course holiday meal)
FIRST DAY, SATURDAY, SEPT 16:
Morning Prayers 9:30am, Holiday Lunch at 1:30pm. No Shofar and no Tashlich on Shabbat – both only on Sunday this year.
SECOND NIGHT, SAT NIGHT, SEPT 16:
Prayers 7:45pm, holiday dinner 8:15pm (on the second night we eat new and exotic “Shehechiyanu” fruits, plus a full-course holiday meal).
SECOND DAY, SUNDAY, SEPT 17:
Morning Prayers 9:30am, Shofar 12pm, Lunch at 1:30pm followed by nearby neighborhood waterside Tashlich
Shofar Express & holiday treats at the Small Fountain on Campus, 3-5pm
5:15pm Tashlich Service at Indian Pond Bridge
Holiday ends 7:44pm. We’ll do a light meal and farbrengen to close out the holiday at approx 7pm.
Those observant of the Fast-of-Gedalia (on the day after Rosh Hashanah, this year Wednesday Sep 8th) the fast ends at 7:29pm. We’ll do “Kosher on Fuller” (Kosher Dining dinners by swipe at Shabbos House) at 7:30pm that night.
YOM KIPPUR AT UALBANY
Yom Kippur services at UAlbany are a joint project of Shabbos House and UAlbany Hillel
YOM KIPPUR NIGHT, SUNDAY SEP 24th:
Prefast Meal at Shabbos House 4:30pm-6pm
Kol Nidrei Prayers in Campus Center Room 375 at 6:30pm
YOM KIPPUR DAY, MONDAY SEP 25th:
9:30am-2pm Traditional Morning Prayers in CC Room 375
11am Hillel Egalitarian Prayers in the Interfaith Center
5:30pm Mincha Prayers in CC 375
6:30pm Neilah Closing Service in CC 375
7:29pm Yom Kippur Ends, Shofar, (then Maariv & Havdalah)
7;30pm Break-Fast By UAlbany Hillel in CC 375
Sukkot is all about atmosphere! There are lots of meals in the Sukkah, opportunities to shake the Lulav and spend quality holiday time together.
Sukkot Holiday week meals and prayers and programs are supported by an endowment established in memory of the late UAlbany professor Dr. Herman Prins Salomon, Eliezer ben Yitzhak. Some holiday meals are also co-sponsored by Shabbos House alumni, and by the Shabbos House Lchaim Student Group (SA Funded).
Sukkot is filled with vibe and atmosphere! It is a special time of togetherness, uplift, good food and good times. It’s a light and chill holiday, pleasant and accessible, outdoorsy and nature-oriented, it has a really good feel to it. And it all leads up to the joyous Simchat Torah!
WED, SEP 27th:
Sukkah Building BBQ 4:30-7:30pm
HAPPY SUKKOT! This beloved outdoorsy holiday is filled with vibe and atmosphere, it’s a very special time at Shabbos House (‘s Sukkah). We’ll have lots of holiday meals, events and activities and it culminates next weekend (when many but not all of you will be home or away on Fall Break) with joyous Simchat Torah! But first this weekend and coming week is Sukkot…
Note re: the holiday-days and weekday days of Sukkot: Basically, the first two days of Sukkot – Friday night until Sunday night – are holiday-days. We have prayers, festive dinners and lunches both these days. The next 5 days – Monday until Friday – are weekday parts of the holiday, we still shake Lulav and eat in a Sukkah and have festive Sukkot spirit but otherwise they’re weekday days. We have more meals on holiday days, more programming on the weekday days.
There’s a handy flyer Chani made with all the Sukkot events, also in this email. Here is a more detailed breakdown schedule, with additional events, menus and info:
FRIDAY 9/29: THE FIRST NIGHT OF SUKKOT:
Prayers 7:15pm, Shabbat and Holiday Dinner 8pm. This is the night when we drink the traditional upstate hot cider and sing the Sukkahleh Song.
Menu: Challah and Dips, Chip-Salad, Sesame Noodles, Sesame-Chicken, Rice, Grilled Veggies, Desserts…
NGL, its not great when it rains on Sukkot, but a real bummer when it rains Friday Night and the First Night, when its a big night for students to come over and celebrate. Rain or shine, we’re on. If its raining we’ll set up inside and only the stalwarts can brave the elements and eat out in the Sukkah. We’ll have to play the set-up by ear closer to the time, because we’d really love to eat in the Sukkah if we can. Just in case, dress for the Sukkah. Either way, we’re baking up some extra-small Challah rolls so everyone can at least have one traditional bite in the Sukkah when its an extra-special mitzvah on the first night. And the forecast is now slightly improving…
Are your families in town for Family Weekend? They are welcome, too!
SAT 9/30, FIRST DAY OF SUKKOT:
Good news is that rain is supposed to stop sometime in the morning. We’re doing Minyan at 10am (No Lulav on Shabbat) followed by lunch in the Sukkah at 12:30 and on. Visiting families are welcome for lunch, too. We’ll have a light dinner and snacks near end of the first day around 6pm-ish.
Menu: Salad Course and Gefilte Fish, Cholent and Deli-Roll, Desserts and more…
SAT NIGHT 9/30, SECOND NIGHT OF SUKKOT:
Prayers 7:30pm, 8pm Dinner in the Sukkah – and forecast looks much better for the second night! Should be nice but dress for eating outside.
Menu: Challah and Dips, Salad, Roast-Beef, Potato Kugel, Green Beans and Dessert.
SUNDAY 10/1, SECOND DAY OF SUKKOT & FIRST DAY OF LULAV:
Prayers 10am, including Lulav Shakes for the first time this holiday (as we don’t shake Lulav on Shabbat). Holiday Lunch 12:30pm in the Sukkah (or when you come).
We’ll do a light dinner near end of second day at 6pm.
The first 2 days of Sukkot holiday ends 7:18pm
Menu: a Schwarma-style Chicken and Falafel Bar with pita, veggies, fillers and toppings.
SUNDAY NIGHT 10/1, MUSICAL NIGHT IN THE SUKKAH:
This event isn’t on the Sukkot flyer, and it’s open to the local Jewish community. A group of very talented local musicians (cello, violin, accordion and percussion) will play Jewish and Chassidic melodies, desserts and refreshments will be served. This event is hosted by Mendel’s parents each year in memory of his sister Esty. Students are welcome, but its also a community event – at Shabbos House.
MONDAY 10/2 – THURSDAY 10/5:
Sukkah-on-Campus: We’re setting up a small Sukkah outside CC West on Dutch Commons (just behind the tree line). Inside will be a Lulav set for DIY shakes, plus we’ll leave some snacks there for a quick bite in the Sukkah. We may do “Mendel’s Takeout” there with some food, stay tuned for more about that.
The Sukkah-Bike: Each of the Sukkot weekdays, Mon-Thurs, we’ll take the Sukkah-Bike for a spin around the Podium and Quads, flag us down for Lulav Shakes. Times TBA.
KOF (Kosher-on-Fuller by swipe) Dinner 7-9pm
Glow in the Sukkah – 9pm in the Sukkah, a fun, hands-on, interactive, an illuminating-the-darkness event, refreshments served.
Instead of the usual Torah-Tuesday we’re going to do a 1-hour Sukkah-Hop in the local Jewish community, one at 6-7pm, one at 9-10pm. It may run a little longer but will try to keep it to that. We’ll pack a packaged dinner and snacks. Students who don’t want to go can enjoy the packaged dinner here in the Sukkah at home.
Esther Miriam’s Bat-Mitzvah!! Students are all invited, 4-6pm with a big Poke Bowl Buffet and her multi-media Torah presentation on “Bucket-Lists” – she’s our bucket-list girl. There are some nice souvenirs for all. We realize the timing can’t work for everyone, but students can come when they can.
We’ll also do a KOF dinner 7-9pm.
It’s still Sukkot… Lulav Shakes are a thing everyday if we can, once a day, but only during the daytime.
HAPPY SUKKOT, please come for whatever and as much as you can this holiday. We love to celebrate this joyous uplifting and invigorating holiday together! It has a tangible spirituality, its multi-dimensional and multi-sensory… The Sukkah brings people closer together, going out into the Sukkah and being enveloped by its atmosphere, brings out an inner warmth and dimension inside us.
Love, and our best holiday wishes!
Mendel and Raizy
PS: For almost ten years now we go down with a group of students to Brooklyn for a mega Chabad on Campus Shabbaton called “Pegisha” with hundreds of students from around the country, some years exceeding 1,000 or 1,200 students representing campuses from all over. It’s also a fun and meaningful bonding time together as an Albany group. This year it falls over the Oct 27-29 weekend. Registration is due by October 16th. If you are interested in joining, you need to register at chabadoncampus.org/pegisha/ please speak to us if you have questions or would like to hear more of what this is about, what it entails, etc.
Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center
But it doesn’t end here and goes straight into the finale of Shemini Atzeret and SIMCHAT TORAH! (see next tab)
These incredibly special and opportune 48 hours (of Shemini-Atzeret and Simchat-Torah) climax the whole long holiday season, that climaxes everything that began on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and takes it spiraling both upwards & downwards to totally new levels that spin off off into the whole year!
This year Simchat Torah falls as part of an extended Fall Break Weekend. Many students will be going home or away, but we’re still on for all the holiday celebration and a number of students already said they are staying for the (smaller but enriching) weekend of holiday celebration!
Friends don’t let friends miss Simchat Torah (especially Sat Night… even if you/they can only come for a short while). It’s a once-a-year type celebration, an incredible outpouring of the joys of Judaism and of being Jewish. We dance with our feet (any old way, fancy steps not required) and closed Torahs, Simchat Torah celebrates the heritage, the core connection, it’s not about knowledge or specifics.
FRIDAY NIGHT OCT 6th: SHEMINI ATZERET, LAST DINNER IN SUKKAH
Prayers & mini-Hakafot 7pm, 8pm last holiday dinner in the Sukkah
a beautiful thought about the custom of Shmini Atzeret night dancing Hakafot: This is the night when Jews in Israel have their Simchat Torah. So we are dancing in soldarity with them. Then, tomorrow night, when we have Simchat Torah in the diaspora outside of Israel, many Israelis take to the streets to dance “Hakafot Shniyot” a second Hakafot, when their holiday is already over, to dance Hakafot in solidarity with us. Am Yisrael – Am Echad!
SAT OCT 7th: SHEMINI ATZERET DAY
Prayers 10am followed by 12:30pm the last lunch in the Sukkah
SAT NIGHT, OCT 7th: ***SIMCHAT TORAH NIGHT!***
The Big Night of Lively Spirited Jewish Celebration!
Don’t miss it – even if you can only come for a short 15 minute or half-hour window, come anytime between 8:30pm and 11:30pm… 8:30pm Hakafot dancing start, hopefully until midnight! Food buffet all night, dancing, singing, uplifting vibe and energy, annual collectible souvenir. TBH, especially from a Chabad lens, the Simchat Torah celebration is more of a celebration of the Jewish people and our core essential connection to G-d, the Torah and our heritage, than it is about the Torah or any of its particular teachings..
Prayers and Ata Horayta 7:30pm, Hakafot Dancing and Buffet starts 8:30pm, goes late, hopefully until midnight!
TUESDAY, OCT 8th: SIMCHAT TORAH DAY,
9:30am Prayers, more Hakafot, reading, completing and restarting the Torah cycle… Lunch by 2pm
Holiday ends (and with this the whole long holiday season) at 7:06pm
Sukkah Take-Down will be Monday October 9th and we’ll do a Fall-Break Outing on Tuesday October 10th instead of Torah-Tuesday.
Rosh Hashanah prayers and festive meals will all be at Shabbos House. Yom Kippur prayers will be in the Campus Center Assembly Hall with pre-fast at Shabbos House and Break-fast by Hillel in the Campus Center. All Sukkot holiday meals and prayers climaxing with the joyous Simchat Torah will be at Shabbos House.
Stay tuned for updates and details – best way to get the full info is to be on the weekly student email list from Shabbos House. The Shabbos House Whatsapp student list is also helpful way to keep informed with any last minute updates or changes and such (especially in this Covid period).