Hillel’s SHABAM event puts students “at the helm” of hosting Shabbat meals across campus

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By Jack Wisniewski
@jaywizzywizard
Staff writer

As part of Hillel’s annual Shabbat Across Maryland program, students all over campus were able to experience Shabbat alongside friends in the comfort of their own dorms, apartments, and houses near campus.

This year, over 1,500 students attended 65 different SHABAM meals that were held across campus. These meals ranged in themes from “Pajama Party!” to “Birthright Bus 1339,” according to the online sign-up form that was required to attend a SHABAM meal.

“SHABAM epitomizes what Hillel is all about,” said Hillel Assistant Director Maiya Chard-Yaron. “It takes the most central Jewish thing of the week and puts different types of Jewish students at the helm.”

Chard-Yaron said that students could sign up to host a SHABAM meal that was held directly after Yom Kippur. After applying, a potential host was obligated to attend one of the two training sessions that Hillel requires. These sessions taught either how to cook a Shabbat meal or how to host one, according to Chard-Yaron.

“Hosts can either cook their own food and get reimbursed by Hillel or they can order through our kitchen,” Chard-Yaron said. “At its core, this is about students stepping up and saying ‘I want to host Shabbat dinner for my friends.’”

Hillel provided over 800 of the meals, which included chicken, a starch such as rice or pasta, vegetables, dessert, challah, and grape juice. Each of the hosts also received a “host kit,” which consisted of a manual with Shabbat blessings, a lavender spice bag to symbolize Havdalah once the Shabbat ends, a small plant for a centerpiece, and a SHABAM door hanger, Chard-Yaron said.

Adam Goldberg, a senior communications major, attended a small SHABAM meal with six people.

“It was intimate,” Goldberg said. “The whole table had one conversation which was really nice.”

Afterwards, Goldberg headed over to the Jewish Student Union SHABAM meal which he co-hosted alongside his roommate, the president of this club, in their Landmark apartment.

“We had about 20 people, which was a lot of fun,” Goldberg said. “If I wasn’t at a SHABAM, I probably would have eaten some easy-mac or something.”

Adam Basner, a junior criminology and criminal justice major, said that he was able to hang out with people that he does not get the opportunity to see very often due to his other commitments.

“The SHABAM meal was a fun way to spend some time with those people,” Basner said. “I probably wouldn’t have taken the initiative to hang out with anyone outside of the people I live with or the people I see everyday if there wasn’t a SHABAM.”

Daniel Katz, a junior finance major and mythology minor, attended a friend’s SHABAM with members of a social justice group.

“I got exposure to a crew different from the one that I normally hang out with,” Katz said. “It was awesome to meet them.”

Katz said that he probably would have been hanging out at Looney’s with friends if he was not granted the opportunity to attend a SHABAM meal.

Chard-Yaron said that Hillel receives donations from the Gorlin Family, who once resided in the Maryland Area but now live in Israel, in order to fund the SHABAM program.

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