By Senaya Savir, staff writer, @SenayaSavir
Every year Jewish Terps all over campus participate in Hillel’s annual Shabbat Across Maryland, also known as SHABAM, where students have the opportunity to experience an intimate Shabbat meal with friends somewhere on campus, whether that be a residence hall, Greek house or student’s apartment.
Last Friday, over 1,600 students participated in SHABAM at over 75 dinners including JSU Shabam, Israeli Shabam and Birthright bus reunion SHABAMs.
Lindsay Goldman, Maryland Hillel’s Jewish experience associate, organized this year’s SHABAM program by coordinating the meals and times for students.
Goldman said the tradition of SHABAM started 10 years ago as a communal dinner held in one place until it grew to almost 1,000 students and transitioned into personal meals all across campus.
“I [attended] about 17 of the 75 meals,” Goldman said. “I hit a lot of the Greek meals that were really packed, a few on North Campus, and a lot of birthright reunions.”
Miriam Pomerantz, a junior family science major, worked as this year’s co-chair of SHABAM. She said she believes participating in SHABAM is really important because it’s a way to gather people together and be a part of a communal celebration of Shabbat.
“I hope students got the feeling of how special taking a break out of a busy week to sit down with friends and enjoy food and each other’s company can be,” Pomerantz said.
Pomerantz said she tried to go to many of the 75 meals around campus and particularly enjoyed the meals where Jewish students taught non-Jewish students the practices of Shabbat.
“I also enjoyed the creativeness of the icebreakers,” Pomerantz said, recalling a particular one she enjoyed called “A Rose and a Thorn,” which encourages students to discuss a negative and positive thing about their week.
While celebrating Shabbat is a big part of SHABAM, Goldman said she hopes students will achieve more on a personal and social level as well.
“I hope, on one hand, students have an idea of importance of unity and feel part of a community of Jews across campus, but on a personal level, I hope that students that typically have Shabbats are inviting people in their classes and getting to know people on a deeper level in a more intimate setting,” she said.
Next semester, Hillel will debut the Shabbat Fund, which allows students to fill out basic information about a meal they plan on having so that Hillel can spread the word and fund each dinner.
“We’re hoping SHABAM will make students think more about hosting or attending a meal a friend has,“ Goldman said.