#UAlbanyShabbat360 is back for 2018!

Save the date and spread the word! Friday Night, February 23rd, in the UAlbany Campus Center Ballroom.

This is our 3rd year of Shabbat 360 at UAlbany. The goal is to fill the tables with a spirited community and have the biggest Shabbat dinner of the year together as a campus community.

It will take individuals and campus groups to all reach out, bringing themselves and friends to make this happen. To reserve your FREE TSHIRT SIZE (but no guarantees, especially as the days get closer) please use this simple signup form online.

This year’s theme will be “Around the World” Shabbat with flags and trivia of different countries at each table, Shabbat Shalom in different languages and more.


It so happens that this will be the Shabbat before Purim (we’re looking forward to a Purim Carnival in the same Ballroom on Wed night later that week) so this year our “reasons to come” (see past year’s reasons here) to #UAlbanyShabbat360 will have a Purim-centric theme:

(1) “Go gather all the Jewish People” – Queen Esther

Queen Esther didn’t ask for much, but she did tell Mordechai to gather all the Jews in prayer and fasting so that her mission on their behalf to King Achashvairosh be blessed with success. For #UAlbanyShabbat360 we’re not asking anyone to fast – on the contrary – and the focus will be more meal than prayer. But we feel that her request “Go gather all the Jewish people” will be well-reflected in the goal and experience of our Shabbat 360 at UAlbany this 2018!

(2) Think Big from King Achashvairosh!

The Persian king of the Purim story may or not have been the nicest guy (more about that in a Torah-Tuesday class this Spring) but the Megillah certainly tells us a lot about how he went all out with the longest wildest party ever. Why all the detail? The Rebbe says (you can watch the video clip here with English subtitles) that this teaches us about going all out, maximizing our potential, pushing our limits and expanding our horizons! Shabbat 360 is one way our campus community does just that! (When thinking HUGE! in Upstate NY that big loud Billy Fuccillo comes to mind, hence the picture, but this isn’t an endorsement or promotion of his car dealerships).

(3) “127 Provinces – from India to Ethiopia”

We’re going with 36 tables in the Campus Center, not 127, but the Megillah’s description of Persian rule then stretched over 127 Provinces, which was much of civilization at the time, “from Hodu to Kush” Indian to Ethiopia, from one end of (the civilized) world to the other. That first right into this year’s “around the world” theme, as each of the 36 tables will feature flags and trivia of different countries where Shabbat is observed, like the spread of countries under King Achashvairosh’s reign. Let’s see what table (country) you end up sitting at! You might learn something new…

(4) “The King’s Sleep was Disturbed”

This verse at the start of Megillah’s chapter 6 is a turning point in the Purim story. That’s when the sleepless partying king is read the Royal Chronicles and reminded of Mordechai’s role in saving his life – just before the wicked Haman walks in to request the king’s permission for Mordechai’s hanging. Everything goes downhill for Haman from that point on in the story. What’s the Shabbat 360 connection? Not that most students are sleeping on Friday evenings (though you never know, it’s one way to pre-game for weekend activities), but the Midrash and Chassidic texts read this verse as a pivotal break in the flow of events, a jolt to the status-quo, there’s a change, something different. Perhaps you could say the same about #UAlbanyShabbat360, it is certainly not the UAlbany norm. (The image here is from “The Princess and the Pea” because she couldn’t sleep either, only for different reasons).

(5) “Ish L’Rayehu” – one person to his/her friend

That’s the Megillah’s phrase about the gifts of food we should give to each other on Purim Day. For Shabbat 360 these two Hebrew words are a big theme, too, because it is all about one friend inviting/bringing/reminding the other. You could say it takes two to make Shabbat 360 happen. It has to be two many times over, but really it is all about one person reaching out and bringing one more person to this grand mega Shabbat dinner at UAlbany!