Yeshiva University News » Shabbat

Yeshiva University Joins Global Jewish Community in Keeping Shabbat Together October 24 – 25

This week, Yeshiva University students will join Jewish communities in more than 212 cities across 33 countries for a Shabbat dedicated to Jewish unity and identity as part of The Shabbos Project.

The brainchild of South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, the international grassroots initiative hopes to bring Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations together to observe a single Shabbat on October 24-25.

After a successful inaugural Shabbos Project last year united South African Jewry in a complete Shabbat experience—from preparation to praying to hosting meals, the Shabbos Project movement has gone global this year with participating communities worldwide.

“There was a mass movement, a people’s experience, it was a people’s spring,” said Rabbi Goldstein. “The whole campaign went viral and the people owned it.”

Shabbos Project 2014

This year, The Shabbos Project chose October 24-25, 2014 to once again create an inspirational and engaging Shabbat where Jews worldwide will be “Keeping it Together.” This specific weekend was chosen because it immediately follows a month full of Jewish holidays to encourage Jews that may only attend shul [synagogue] on the High Holidays to remain engaged and connected. The Yeshiva University community has taken an active role in this initiative by creating a weeklong Shabbat experience for its students and neighbors. Read the rest of this entry…

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Students Organize First Chai Lifeline Shabbaton on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus

Close to 300 students and volunteers spend a fun-filled weekend (February 25-26) on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus, celebrating Shabbat with Chai Lifeline—an organization dedicated to bringing joy to children diagnosed with life-threatening or lifelong disabilities.Chai Lifeline Yeshiva University Shabbaton

Twenty children, along with Chai Lifeline representatives and medical staff from, were treated to a Shabbat experience on campus that included festive meals, a kiddush, an Oneg Shabbat program in the Morgenstern Hall Lounge, and an afternoon filled with interactive games and storytelling.

Dovi Fink, an accounting major at Sy Syms School of Business and volunteer at Chai Lifeline was an organizer of the Shabbaton—which was a first on any college campus for Chai Lifeline. “After experiencing the special work of Chai Lifeline in the past, my fellow volunteers and I wanted to share that experience with our peers at YU.”

On Saturday night, hundreds of YU students and dozens of Chai Lifeline children filled the Max Stern Athletic Center to watch the world-famous Harlem Wizards basketball team take on the Macabees and Camp Simcha All Stars in a matchup full of incredible dunks and basketball tricks.

“After spending a weekend of singing and dancing, I hope that the students at Yeshiva realize how much of a difference their volunteer work can make in the life of a sick child,” said Fink.

“Weekends like this give children with serious illnesses a needed booster shot of enjoyment and emotional support,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline. “Shabbatonim like the one at YU are only possible because of the incredibly motivated and compassionate volunteers who organize and staff them. We are so impressed with the compassion, motivation and idealism of the young men and women at YU who volunteer for Chai Lifeline that we consider the school a partner in the care that Chai Lifeline brings to families struggling with pediatric illness.”


Yeshiva University President will Spend Weekend of Feb. 18-19 with Miami Beach Community

Yeshiva University (YU) President Richard M. Joel will visit the Miami Beach community over the weekend of February 18-19, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa. President Joel will spend Shabbat at Miami Beach’s Beth Israel Congregation and meet with alumni, community leaders and high school students over the weekend.

President Richard M. Joel

President Richard M. Joel

“The thriving Jewish community of South Florida models many of Yeshiva University’s ideals,” said President Joel. “YU hopes to learn from its vitality and share with it the full gamut of our educational and inspirational resources in an attempt to better weave together the patchwork of Torah U’Madda communities around this country.”

President Joel will deliver a drasha [lecture] during Shabbat morning services entitled “Seeing as G-d Sees” and will lead a question and answer session during seudat shlishit following mincha.

“More than 90 percent of our congregation has some affiliation with Yeshiva University and closely identifies with its mission,” said Rabbi Donald Bixon of Beth Israel Congregation. “We are honored to host Richard Joel.”

On Motzei Shabbat, February 19 at 9 p.m., the president will speak to the community about “Jewish Education: A Values Proposition” at the home of Lisa and Phil Baratz, 5920 Southwest 33rd Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. To RSVP, please contact


Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, spiritual leader of Kehilath Jeshurun, will receive an honorary degree from YU at the Annual Hanukkah Convocation in December.

Nov 3, 2008 — Yeshiva University celebrated its longstanding ties to Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun at a Shabbaton on Nov. 7 at the synagogue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The event came a month before the University’s 84th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation, which will honor communal leaders including Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, spiritual leader of Kehilath Jeshurun.

Rabbi Lookstein, the Joseph H. Lookstein Professor of Homiletics at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and a past president of Yeshiva University Rabbinic Alumni, will receive an honorary degree from YU at the Hanukkah Convocation.

President Richard M. Joel spoke at an oneg for high school students on Friday night and delivered an address, ‘Thoughts on the Destination of Abraham,’ after the shacharit [morning] prayer service on Saturday.

Allen M. Spiegel, MD, The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, talked about the impact of genetics on medicine in the future with a particular emphasis on Jewish genetic diseases at seudah shlishit [late afternoon meal] after the mincha [afternoon] service. This was followed by a question-and-answer session led by President Joel.

Both Rabbi Lookstein and his wife, Audrey, are YU alumni. Rabbi Lookstein received his semikhah [ordination] from RIETS in 1958 and his Ph.D. in modern Jewish history from Bernard Revel Graduate of Jewish Studies School in 1977. Mrs. Lookstein (née Katz) graduated from Yeshiva University High School for Girls in 1954 and is a member of the first graduating class of Stern College for Women (1958).

The Lookstein family has maintained a deep relationship with Yeshiva University for three-quarters of a century. Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein (1902-1979), the founder of Ramaz and the first chancellor of Bar Ilan University, served as counsel to Dr. Samuel Belkin, YU’s second president, and taught homiletics to rabbinic students at RIETS. One of the leading modern orthodox luminaries of the last century, Joseph Lookstein was both an honorary YU Trustee and a board member of Yeshiva College and RIETS. His legacy is honored at YU by the Joseph H. Lookstein Chair in Homiletics at RIETS, occupied by his son, Haskel.

Rabbi Joshua I. Lookstein, the son of Rabbi Haskel and Audrey Lookstein, graduated from Yeshiva College and received his semikhah from RIETS in 1996. His sister, Shira Baruch, graduated from Stern College in 1987. All three of the Looksteins’ sons-in-law attended Yeshiva College and graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


Sep 11, 2007 — Thanks to a new eruv (Sabbath boundary marker) in Midtown Manhattan that includes Stern College for Women, students and visitors to the Beren Campus can now carry books, keys, and food, and push baby carriages and wheelchairs on Shabbat, which all amounts to a more relaxed Shabbat experience.

According to Halakhah (Jewish law), one can carry items outdoors on the Sabbath only if the act of carrying occurs within a proper enclosure. For observant Jews, the restriction means that individuals do not carry anything in the public domain—even articles of clothing they are not wearing or babies who cannot walk.

“Eruv,” short for “eruv hatzerot,” literally means “the unification of properties,” and is a halakhic solution to the problem of not being able to carry on Shabbat beyond private property.

“As the Beren Campus has expanded, it became clear that we needed to make it possible for students and guests to move comfortably from building to building, taking whatever they needed with them,” said Karen Bacon, PhD, The Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College.

The eruv is an extension of the existing eruvs on Manhattan’s Upper West and Upper East sides (which are all now connected). The Midtown eruv runs along the southern side of East 56th Street from (but not including) Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive to the eastern side of Sixth Avenue, reaching down to Houston Street on the west side and zigzagging through Alphabet City on the east side. Areas around the United Nations and Alphabet City are not included in the new eruv.

Erecting an eruv involves putting up a wire cable although in some places an existing wall or fence will substitute. The Midtown eruv was constructed in consultation with Mechon L’Horaya, a respected rabbinical court in Monsey, NY, which now oversees its weekly maintenance.

“This is a very technical issue in Jewish law. There is a whole tractate in the Talmud that deals with it,” said Rabbi Gideon Shloush ’93Y,R, rabbi of the Murray Hill-Gramercy Park community and spiritual leader of the nearby Congregation Adereth El where many Stern students pray. He organized the construction, supervision, and fundraising for the project with Rabbi Yehuda Sarna of New York University’s Hillel–Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, whose community is also included in the new eruv.

The process also involved getting permission from New York City authorities. “In a big city such as this, there are a lot of complexities in erecting the wire so as not to interfere with city life,” Rabbi Shloush said. “You cannot, for example, construct an eruv running through Herald Square on 34th Street because the Thanksgiving Day Parade runs through there and the balloons could get caught on the wires.”
The eruv, completed during the summer, enhanced Stern’s first Shabbat this fall semester.

“It’s so freeing,” said Zelda Braun, associate dean of students at Stern. “We now have families coming who couldn’t have come before.”


Mar 31, 2006 — More then 300 students from both Yeshiva University undergraduate campuses spent Shabbat on the Beren campus with adults from the Rayim division of YACHAD, a group for developmentally disabled Jews.

The Shabbaton, from March 31 to April 1, was the second this academic year that will host members of YACHAD’s Rayim division. The first, held in the fall, often encourages our students to volunteer as advisors for YACHAD, which serves people from the age of 9 through 39.

“There is something about the YU atmosphere that is very energizing and welcoming to the YACHAD members,” explained Aliza Abrams, a graduate of Stern College and the assistant program director for Rayim YACHAD.

Ms. Abrams, who is now the Robert M. Beren Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Jewish Future, began volunteering with YACHAD in high school, and said many Yeshiva University students already know the YACHAD members from Shabbatonim when they were in high school, so the experience is familiar.

“The level of ruach at the Shabbaton is unbelievable,” Ms. Abrams said.

Rabbi Baruch Simon, Col. Jehiel R. Elyachar Visiting Professor of Talmud, is the special speaker at the Shabbaton. He is a favorite with the students and a regular at the YACHAD event.

For all of the Shabbat Enhancement programs, male students stay in a nearby hotel and female students stay in their dorms. The facilities accommodates 300 people, and Beth Hait, assistant dean of students, said attendance is expected to push the envelope.

As with all of the other Shabbat Enhancement programs, student organizers play a big part. SCW student Nicole Bodner, TAC president Hillary Lewin and YC student Aron Pollack, helped organize the event.

The YACHAD Shabbaton is one of four special Shabbatonim that receives funding from the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization (YUWO). The program is also sponsored by TAC, SOY, the Office of Student Affairs and The Shabbat Enhancement Committee.


Sep 3, 2004 — Following a hectic and exhilarating week of orientation, registration and acclimating to college life, students will have an opportunity to spend a rewarding and inspiring Shabbat on campus. Orientation Shabbat is sponsored by the Shabbat Enhancement Program of the Office of Student Affairs.

President Richard M. Joel and Mrs. Joel will join students on the Wilf Campus and Karen Bacon, Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean, Stern College for Women, will be joined on the Beren Campus by deans Ethel Orlian, Zelda Braun and representatives of Student Affairs and the Office of Resident Life.

The Shabbatonim will provide an opportunity to build campus community life, getting to know one another, meeting new friends, re-acquainting with old friends and developing one to one relationships with administrators and staff.

Orientation Shabbat will also be a wonderful learning experience. Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, director of the E. Billi Ivry Department of Jewish Studies and Dean Bacon will conduct learning sessions at SCW.

On the Wilf Campus the Shabbaton will strive to recreate the ruach of Israeli yeshivot. Divrei Torah will be given by Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Yosef Blau, Rabbi Yitzchok Cohen, and Rabbi Meir Goldwicht. On Friday night, refreshments will be served at a hot cholent “Tish.”