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Monday, January 24, 2022
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(Courtesy of YU) Shabbat on the Beren and Wilf campuses has become a “must-stay” event for YU students, thanks to dynamic and creative programming that brings together insightful shiurim, inspiring divrei Torah, guest speakers, tefillot, onegs and, of course, delicious food. Even Havdalah is an occasion not to be missed!

The year was kicked off by Orientation Shabbat, the first Shabbat of the semester and the largest ever on the Beren campus. The 400 students in attendance were able to spend time with and hear from special Shabbat guests, including Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University; Shoshana Schechter, associate dean, and family; Rabbi and Mrs. Penina Bernstein, rabbi and rebbetzin of the Beren campus, and family; and Mrs. Rachel Ciment, from the Office of Spiritual Guidance, and family.

Shabbat on the Beren campus provides opportunities for students to spend time together in a warm and welcoming environment surrounded by friends. The coed Shabbaton on Oct. 22-23, presented by the student councils of both the men’s and women’s campuses, gave students the opportunity to meet their peers and participate in a beautiful Shabbat experience with the deans of students from both campuses: Joe Bednarsh and Sara Asher.

“Camp Shabbat,” which brought about 200 students and staff to Camp Romimu, brought the YU Shabbat energy and experience off campus, giving the students the opportunity to get away from the noise of the city and take in a different environment with friendly and familiar faces. In attendance were Rabbi Aharon Cohen and family and Professor Nechama Price and family as well as other members of the Torah and Spiritual Life teams.

Other recent Shabbat experiences included a computer science-themed Shabbat with the chair of the department, Prof. Alan Broder, and a visit from Dina Schoonmaker of Michlalah, which also featured a Midreshet Moriah reunion on campus.

“Shabbos at Stern College for Women is amazing! It’s a time to relax, reconnect with your friends, meet new people and learn from amazing guests,” said Rachel Sherin ’24S. “Faculty members also attend in order to build relationships with students outside of our daily lives and is a great opportunity to connect with faculty and friends in an inspiring Jewish environment.”

Joining the students each Shabbat on campus are the Bernsteins and Rabbi Yisroel Meir and Dr. Elisabeth Rosenzweig, av and eim bayit on the Beren campus, and bi-weekly, the two rabbinic intern couples Rabbi Avrumi and Michal Shonbrun and Rabbi Josh and Mairav Kaufman. They are all dedicated to making each Shabbat on campus a memorable social and spiritual experience.

“Shabbos on campus offers a unique opportunity to put the books and tests aside and relax with your peers, participate in exciting social programming and gain insight from the amazing guest speakers,” said Sela Boord ’22SB. “I feel fortunate to attend a university that allows for the ability for this to take place on a weekly basis.”

Upcoming highlights include more Israel seminary reunions (MMY, Harova and Michlalah) and two coed Shabbatons involving both campuses—the International Shabbaton, which focuses on the international community, and the Sephardic Shabbaton, centered on YU’s Sephardic community. Dr. Noam Wasserman, dean of the Sy Syms School of Business, and his family will also be joining the students for Shabbat in the coming weeks.

On the Wilf Campus, hundreds of students participate each week in Shabbat festivities, creating opportunities to connect with old friends and make new ones. With minyanim in the batei midrash, delicious meals served at the Furman Dining Hall, and a rich array of shiurim and lectures by the roshei yeshiva, students are consistently choosing the Wilf Campus as their place to spend Shabbat.

Special Shabbat guests this semester included Rabbi Hershel Schachter, rosh yeshiva and rosh kollel at RIETS; Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS; Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg, rosh yeshiva at RIETS; Rabbi Yehuda Willig, maggid shiur in the Mazer Yeshiva Program and the Irving I. Stone Beis Medrash Program; Dr. Wasserman; and an upcoming Shabbat with Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, rosh yeshiva at RIETS.

“Shabbat on campus is an amazing experience, where guys hear divrei Torah and words of chizuk from our outstanding rebbeim, enjoy inspirational davenings and zemirot, and catch up with friends,” said Mordechai Blau ’22YC. “It is truly a home away from home.”

Special guests on the schedule for Shabbat this year include David Lichtenstein, CEO, Lightstone Group and author and host of Headlines Halacha Podcast; Moishe Bane, president of the OU and a partner at Ropes & Gray; and members of the senior administration of NCSY.

The recent clock change also allows the Shabbat experience to continue past Havdalah. A weekly learning seder was added with several optional shiurim, followed by a pizza Melave Malka for all participants. In addition, the Office of Student Life is planning special trips and events for the men’s campus, such as an exciting snow-tubing trip for the winter.

Surrounded by rebbeim, faculty and friends, Shabbat at YU is a chance for students to re-energize and grow after a full week of study. The energy and excitement of Shabbat on the Beren and Wilf campuses along with the number of students attending has grown exponentially, with more exciting programming and featured guests planned for the spring semester.

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