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Student Group Dinner Explores Judaism Across Globe

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Jewish student groups held their third annual Shabbat 360 dinner on Friday, Feb. 23 in the Campus Center Ballroom.

The event was sponsored by Student Association, non-profit Jewish student center Shabbos House, and five UAlbany student groups: Hillel, Lchaim, Kehila, Ruach, and Great Danes for Israel.

The groups opened the dinner to the public to promote the idea of inclusivity and to teach others about UAlbany’s Jewish community.

“I think that having this open dinner is a very good idea because for people like me…I get to be in touch with people who are Jewish and I get to learn more about the religion,” said Noelle Vanyi, a freshman student who is not Jewish.

“One of my best friends is Jewish…and I think it’s very interesting to be open-minded and I think it’s very important to learn about other people’s cultures so that you can also learn about respect.”

The theme was “Around the World,” with each table marked with a flag to represent different countries. Each table also had trivia about Judaism in that country and icebreakers for guests.

“Roll the dice” trivia games encouraged discussion at tables. Throughout the night, Jewish songs and blessings were performed in the tradition of Shabbat.

Hillel faculty adviser Rabbi Nomi Manon, who helped organize the event, agreed with the sentiment of including the whole community.

“There is a Shabbat dinner on campus every week, and it tends to on a regular week draw 100 to 150 max students, which is already a good community,” said Manon. “But we decided it would be interesting if once a semester we did a real push to get everyone together, the whole community, and you know, come together in a way that we don’t always do, but to really make it one Shabbat where everyone really comes out and you feel the community in a bigger way,” she explained.

“Shabbat 360 is a big event that we do once a year, and not only does it get the Jewish community together on-campus,” said Hillel president Ryan Fox, “but in addition it gets other student groups involved and it really brings us together for one big meal.”

“The participation in it just shows that when all different Jewish organizations work together… we really produce a great community.”


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