Shabbat 360 brings students together
By Elena Pollack
December 8, 2015
Hillel and Shabbos House hosted Shabbat 360 to bring the Jewish community on campus together and to welcome in the non-Jewish community on Friday, Dec. 4. The massive Shabbat dinner was open to all and was held at the Campus Center Ballroom. There was plenty of food, great company and laughs. The Albany Student Press had the opportunity to interview Hillel President David Schnall and L’Chaim President Grant Hilsenrath, the masterminds behind the event.
ASP: What exactly is Shabbat 360?
GH: Shabbat 360 is “mega-Shabbat” where different Jewish groups are trying to bring together the whole Jewish community at UAlbany. Our goal is to get 360 student[s] to come to this awesome Shabbat meal at the Campus Center.
ASP: What is the most important part about this program to you?
DS: It allows Jewish students who do not normally come to Shabbat dinner a chance to see what we do every Friday, while also allowing them to make new friends at the same time.
GH: It’s definitely the possibility of reaching Jewish students who wouldn’t have otherwise come to any other Jewish event during their time here.
ASP: What is the significance of 360?
DS: Shabbat 360 is very significant because it is showing the UAlbany community that although we are labeled as Jewish groups on campus, we allow anyone to join our events.
GH: The significance of Shabbat 360 is that it is an event like no other. UAlbany has never had an event like this and we intend to break some records. This is a chance for every Jewish student to feel more welcome than ever and come for a night of good food, good atmosphere, and general fun.
ASP: Would you do more events like this in the future?
DS: I would love to do more events like this in the future because it will allow new students to see what the Jewish groups on campus can do when we collaborate on an idea.
GH: I would love to make this an annual event. I would like to transform it into Shabbat 500 somewhere down the line and try to bring in at least 500 students.
ASP: What inspired this event?
DS: This event has been something that I have always wanted to plan ever since I was the Public Relations Chair for Hillel my sophomore year. From talking to past Hillel presidents, I came to understand that not only was this something that they wanted as well, but it was something they tried to set in motion the day they were elected.
ASP: What message, if any, would you send to the student body?
DS: If I could send a message to the student body, I would say: don’t feel discouraged from coming to any of our events, we are an open community that wants the entire UAlbany campus to enjoy our events.
GH: I would say: “Just come!” The event will have an amazing atmosphere. Do not be intimidated for any reason. Whether you have practiced Judaism at home, just know you’re Jewish, or aren’t even Jewish and are just curious, just come! It will be a great event with great people. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.