Chabad on Campus

There is a lesson to be learned from everyone and everything we encounter. It is just a matter of trying to find it...

Lost and Found: NYC Shabbaton 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 12:32 pm
Posted by Helen Menasche

helen.jpegSunday evening after the closing ceremony of the Shabbaton my group from USF decided to take a night tour of the city and Central Park. While we were walking there, there was a line of benches, and no one around.

Suddenly someone in the group started looking through a plastic bag that was left on the bench. I was wondering why he was looking through garbage, but he couldn't stop staring at the bag.

Turns out that inside of it was a Machzor printed in 1922, a set of Tefilin, a talit and a VHS tape with the label ripped off. We went back and forth whether or not take the bag or leave it. We thought "what are the chances you find this on the same weekend of a huge Shabbaton while with a group of Jews" so the consensus... ( Read More » )

Inspiring Jewish Leaders: NYC Shabbaton 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 11:59 am
Posted by Alexandra Zimmern

alex zimmern.jpg Alexandra Zimmern (left)With the secularism that surrounds so many students on college campuses across America, it is easy to be discouraged and legitimately concerned that Judaism is becoming increasingly irrelevant to this generation. Though I have often fallen victim to this grim outlook, I have come to realize, after spending my weekend at the NYC Shabbaton, that this is certainly not where my generation is headed.

There was an incredible energy at Chabad’s annual Shabbaton that was fueled by the enthusiasm and pride of having over 700 Jewish students that came together to celebrate Judaism-Yiddishkeit. I first felt this energy on Friday night, as hundreds of Jewish women gathered together to light Shabbos candles and bring... ( Read More » )

Becoming One: NYC Shabbaton 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 9:37 am
Posted by Jordan Sandler

sandler.jpgThe Shabbaton 2013 was the best Jewish Experience I have had since my days in BBYO. In my Reform Hebrew School, Judaism was always taught in a modern, forced-fun way. That was the Judaism that I knew. My eyes were opened immensely during my first orthodox service at the Shabbaton.

The amount of passion the Orthodox believers put into their day to day life and how much they loved Judaism changed my mindset as a college student toward Judaism. The Shabbat service was the best part of the trip. I never thought I would ever catch myself saying that in my lifetime. The community of Crown Heights became One, just like Hashem. It was an amazing experience to be immersed in the Jewish Community, and almost felt like an “American... ( Read More » )

Going Tech Free: NYC Shabbaton 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 12:25 pm
Posted by Paul Cooper Vitale

paul cooper vitale.jpgPaul Cooper Vitale, middle, with two other University of Cincinnati students

My experience at the Shabbaton this past weekend was incredible. The people, the energy, and even the lectures left me wanting more.

There was over 1,000 Jews all under the same roof who shared common interests as me, yet from all different kinds of upbringings. I felt right at home.

My most memorable moment of the weekend was keeping Shabbat - because of school and work I never have the chance to actually go tech free, but I did it! And it was beautiful!

Our host family was amazing, and I even had the opportunity to farbrengen with one of my favorite Jewish authors, Rabbi Simon Jacobson. I can honestly say that I created many friendships that I know will last... ( Read More » )

Digging Within: Parshat Toldot

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 10:51 am
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

well.jpgHave you ever drank water from a well? In Vermont, where we spend our summers, that is the standard. And let me tell you, there is nothing like it. The taste, the clarity, the purity is simply unbeatable.

But it is slightly counterintuitive. After all, water from a well is clearly water that comes from the ground. And the idea of drinking water that had to be separated from the dirt and the roots and everything buried within doesn’t sound so appetizing. And yet, once all of that is removed, the water is always there.

In a certain sense, this is a parable for life. We are all intended to be well diggers. And we all must dig our wells in different places. Emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, the concept of digging a well is... ( Read More » )

Life and Death: Parshat Chayei Sarah

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 1:43 pm
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

blind-cane.jpgIt’s a bit strange. The Torah portion is called “The Life of Sarah” and yet, as soon as it begins, we learn that she has passed. Seems it would make more sense to be called “The Death of Sarah” and yet, this was no oversight.

Judaism teaches us that the righteous are alive even after they die whereas the wicked are considered dead even in their lifetimes.

When we spend our lives impacting others, connecting, helping…then even when we are no longer here our deeds continue in the lives of all we affected and for the generations to come.

And sometimes we don’t even know what it is that we did that had the greatest impact. The Baal Shem tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, explains that our... ( Read More » )

Don't Look Back! Parshat Vayeira

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 2:13 pm
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

salt.jpgIt seems like a pretty harsh response. Granted, she looked back, but to be turned into a pillar of salt? Ouch.

But then again, maybe this story is all too relatable.

In the Torah portion of Vayeira we learn how when Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed, those spared were given a very clear demand that they must leave and not look back. But the temptation was too great so Lot’s wife turned. And in so doing, became a pillar of salt.

Prior to this we read how Abraham tried desperately to see if there were people worthy enough in this corrupt society to save it from destruction. But he couldn’t even find ten. The place had to be destroyed. And they had to accept it.

There are things in our lives, situations, and even... ( Read More » )

Go Find Yourself! Parshat Lech Lecha

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 1:49 pm
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

mirror 2.jpgIf there is ever a time to find yourself, now would be it. College is when you have the freedom to explore where you come from and where you are going.

In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham is sent on a journey. A journey outward and a journey inward. The name of the Torah portion is Lech Lecha meaning literally, ‘go to yourself.’ Find yourself. Figure out who you are.

Abraham is told to go to himself by leaving his land, leaving his birthplace and leaving his father’s home. Three stages in the process of self-discovery—and it applies to every single one of us today as well.

To leave one’s land means to put aside all of the societal pressures. All of the influences that the media, politics, and... ( Read More » )

Honoring Chabad on Campus of Amsterdam

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 11:51 am
Posted by Fjodor Chkalov

netherlands 3.jpegLast Sunday I ran my first half marathon in Brussels (time: 1:42:56), while sporting a 'Chabad on Campus' t-shirt. I came up with the idea to run this race in a Chabad shirt to show my gratitude and support to Rabbi Yanki and Esty Jacobs from Chabad on Campus in Amsterdam.

They started out with this initiative about a year ago, reaching out to Jewish students all over the Netherlands and bringing people together with admirable dedication. I think their activities definitely create a bigger sense of belonging and solidarity among young Jewish people in the Netherlands. Thus said, Yanki and Esty's work deserves some extra attention.

Fjodor Chkalov is a law student at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and is a... ( Read More » )

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