For organizers and attendees, the International Shabbaton at the Israel Henry Beren Campus from Nov. 15-16, 2019, was a huge success.
“This was my first Shabbat on campus in seven years,” noted Jennifer Golden, director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS). “And the fact that it was organized by students from the International Club made it even more significant. The enthusiasm and impressive learning that students brought to the gathering made it a wonderful experience, one that has given me a new-found appreciation for Torah U’madda.”
Joining students, friends, faculty and staff were Tia Younginer, international student advisor at OISS; Rabbi Ari Solomont, associate director of international admissions and recruitment; and Rabbi Benjamin Rofeh and family. In addition, there was the Campus Rabbi and Rebbetzin, Rabbi Jacob and Penina Bernstein, Campus Av and Eim Bayit; Rabbi Yisroel Meir and Elisheva Rosenzweig; and Marjorie Rasinovsky, student life program manager.
At the first Shabbat meal, student leader Armando Chocron ’20YC inspired the gathering with a heartfelt Dvar Torah [words of Torah]. Afterwards, students joined the assembled rabbis for a Q&A session. On Shabbat morning, Rabbi Rofeh presented a class on the week’s parsha [Torah portion] of the week. During Seudat Shelishit [Shabbat meal], Rabbi Solomont reflected on how Abraham was the very first international student. Shabbat ended with a mix of a Sephardic and Ashkenazi Havdala [prayer at the end of Sabbath], led by former club president Meir Cohen ’19YC and Rabbi Bernstein.
One student attendee commented upon the Shabbaton’s warmth and engagement by describing it as a Shabbat to remember. “I walked away realizing that at YU, I am not only making strong connections, I am also building an extended family.”