The art of welcoming Shabat | The art of the Shabat welcome

I’ve been back at Drew since Tuesday. I arrived early to help our school newspaper, The Acorn, cover the days of freshmen orientation. In my spare time, I’ve been discovering a complex debate in my head.

As anyone who knows me, or any avid reader of this blog will know, I haven’t had the best relationship, or the most honest relationship, with Drew University’s Hillel. We’re a small Hillel, advised by a wonderful, if stretched-thin professor, and last year we were not at our best. Behind their backs I voiced a loud dislike for Hillel; it did not meet my high, if unrealistic, Jewish communal standards.

Since I’ve been back I’ve run into a few familiar faces from Hillel, including our adviser, Professor G. I’ve also run into a couple of friends from Hillel. Professor G and I and another Hillel member, whom I’ll call Morty, have been gathering the names of ever Jew we can get our hands on in the new class of 2012.

Professor G compiled this disjointed assembly of names into a list of names and dorm room numbers and put together some little packages of hamantashen and candy and handed the list and munchies to me and Morty. Morty and I, who couldn’t be more different both politically and in terms of observance, just spent about two and a half hours wandering around to all four freshman dorms on campus, hand-delivering the goodies and hand-written (in disastrous handwriting by me) invitaions to our first event of the semester next Shabat evening.

But, most importantly, we were just wishing them a Shabat Shalom. It was nice because it gave me a chance to get to know and appreciate Morty a little more and to a chance to meet a lot of the fresh faces on campus.

Best of all, I have a renewed sense of how good Hillel could be around here. We met a lot of nice, enthusiastic people. One girl was worried that she would get in trouble for lighting her Shabat candles every week and everyone seemed glad to find two nice Jewish boys with hands full of candy making a ruckus in their hallway.

I’m feeling refreshed, optimistic, and, despite the late hour (it’s nearly 12:45 a.m. here), refreshed.

Shabat Shalom, everyone.

Selah!

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