250 Shluchim and Shluchos, 300 Tzeirei Hashluchim and over 80 volunteers…
Jewish college students around the world are gearing up for the annual Chabad on Campus International Shabbaton, set to take place Oct. 22-24 in New York.
Dubbed the “Jewish Mega Event of the Year,” the autumn Shabbaton, a project of the Chabad on Campus International Foundation, brings nearly 1,000 students from 100 schools in North America and Europe to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn for an immersive weekend focusing on cultural explorations and leadership growth.
“This will be my third New York trip, and I just love it,” says Matt Rissien, a 24-year-old from the University of Kansas who’s heading his campus’ trip this year under the guidance of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, director of the local Chabad House.
“Every time I go, it’s so much fun, and the experience in Crown Heights is just unique,” adds Rissien. “The atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”
Rich in cultural significance, the weekend includes tours of Jewish sites and the opportunity to meet Jewish leaders and entertainers, and allows participants to network with hundreds of their peers. The Shabbaton has an adjoining Leadership Conference, which will bring students together with business and communal leaders, as well as a scholarly track for students with more advanced Jewish knowledge, and an expanded women’s program, says Tiechtel, who is chairing this year’s event.
The weekend event revolves around a memorable Shabbat experience in which students are placed at homes of local Crown Heights families.
After the Friday night meal, students reunite for inspirational Chasidic “farbrengens” and a visit to Lubavitch World Headquarters. The agenda on Saturday includes a communal lunch followed by workshops, lectures, networking and a musical havdallah ceremony marking the conclusion of the holy day. A Saturday night carnival will offer live musical entertainment and a combination of games and other activities.
Boris Lipovetsky, 21, a senior at Babson College in Massachusetts who describes the Shabbaton two years ago as a life-changing experience, says the entire weekend exudes a special kind of energy.
“When one person starts singing a song, everyone knows the words. Someone starts dancing, and everyone knows how to do the dance,” he explains. “It was really the first time in a very long time where I was in an environment with so many students I could connect to, not only on a spiritual level but on a cultural level.”
For Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of the Chabad on Campus International Foundation, the goal is provide a positive growth experience for each and every student.
“For some, it might mean an intense educational experience, for another it might mean being uplifted by a Chasidic melody, and for others it might mean learning something relatively basic,” says Gordon. “100 percent of students walk away with a growth experience.”
Chabad on Campus Shabbaton Organizing Committee are working on placing students at local homes to enhance the experience. If you can open your home to these students, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-510-8181. Thank you.
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