The thought of spending your summer vacation studying and learning…
Did you hear about them bunch o’ Jews in Aggieland? Sounds funny, doesn’t it? The funniest part of it is that it’s not a joke at all! Friday afternoon, February 18, Jewish students from across Texas and beyond began a convergence on the Brazos Valley that would last all weekend.
The Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at Texas A&M University had their doors, both front and back, wide open welcoming squads of Jewish students from 23 different schools in Texas, Louisiana and even as far as Illinois.
Aggies and Longhorns stood side-by-side as they joined arms with friends and school rivals alike to celebrate a common feel: The pride of being Jewish.
“It’s really great to see that you aren’t alone” said Texas A&M Junior, Michelle Moe. “There are plenty of other Jewish college students, and even if they’re hours away they are still part of the community.”
The Third Annual Chabad on Campus Texas Regional Shabbaton, with over 200 on the guest list, saw new and old faces come together for a weekend of entertainment and lively study.
Noted figures from New York, Florida and Texas, including Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff, Texas’ regional director of Chabad-Lubavitch activities, charmed the crowd with wit and wisdom. Stimulating workshops, challenging discussions and a bevy of entertaining activities completed the schedule.
“We absolutely love hosting Jewish students from all over. It definitely adds to the flavor of our small community, even if it is just once a year” said Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, Director of the center. “We are able to impart a lasting impression on students, It’s a real honor and a unique opportunity.”
Early morning Chassidic lore, Insights in Kabbalah and the secrets of dating Jewish are just some of the captivating topics students departed with.
“The Shabbaton was such a valuable learning experience for me. It was like coming back home for the weekend” said Jackie Subar of Plano, TX.”
Having almost no formal Jewish life on campus at several of the participating schools, the effect of the Shabbaton reaches far beyond the actual weekend.
Subar a Junior at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX added that “being far from organized Jewish life makes the pride beam even greater!”
Rabbi Zev Johnson, Director of the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center @ UT in Austin took impression from the bonding taking place. “The camaraderie of the students from all backgrounds and all over was something special” he said.
Visitors who attended the event were impressed at the enthusiasm and excitement of the crowd.
“Enough can’t be said about the spirit and ‘signature Texas welcome’ of the students and Rabbis” said Rabbi Moshe C. Dubrowski, Director of Operations at the New York based Chabad on Campus International Foundation. “It was great to be amongst the great display of Jewish pride in College Station,” a city where they are a distinctly small percentage.
As the Shabbaton ended, dozens could be overheard exchanging digits and social media contact as they did not wish for the inspiration and bond to expire too soon.
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