By Samantha Hall / The News Record
The largest student Shabbat dinner welcomed the Sabbath and celebrated Shabbat 180 Friday, bringing together dozens of Jewish Bearcats.
Shabbat is considered the day of rest, which takes place every Friday beginning at sunset, lasting until nightfall the following evening.
Yitzi Creeger, Rabbi for UC’s chapter of Chabad, one of the largest Jewish organizations in the world, began the programming for the UC Jewish community in 2006 with his wife, Dina Creeger.
The couple built a large attendance over the years for the Jewish community at UC by bringing in faculty and students from colleges nearby, as well as area residents.
There are between 4,000-5,000 chapters of Chabad worldwide and in 49 of the 50 U.S. states. Chabad provides a traditional Jewish education and started on college campuses in 1969 at UCLA, according to Rabi Creeger.
It is customary to not use any form of electricity on Shabbat, including the adjustment of electronics, said Dina Creeger.
The day of rest begins on the seventh day of each week, allowing those of the Jewish religion to commemorate God’s creation of Earth, which is believed to have taken six days.
The welcoming of the Sabbath traditionally involves bathing and beautifying the body, as well as the customary candle lighting 18 minutes before sundown.
Traditionally, Shabbat is celebrated with red wine followed by braided bread (Challah) and soup. For this particular celebration, Rabi Creeger and Dina prepared an array of South American foods to bring in a larger student population.
Prior to celebrating with food and wine, guests and students of Shabbat 180 sang the traditional two songs in order to greet “angels” as well as “give praise to the working women of the house,” following with a group standing to bring in the Sabbath.
Students came together in the Stratford Pavilion not only for Shabbat 180, but to feel a sense of community among the small population of Jewish students on campus, according to Raphael Vayntraub, a first-year pharmacy student.
“It’s important to have one big group of people just to show, because there’s not a lot of us on campus, so its good to show that we have a strong Jewish nation at least here,” said Vayntraub.
The representation of celebrations such as Shabbat is important on a college campus in order for students to stay grounded with their religious roots, said Vayntraub.