Chabad at IU hosted its biggest Shabbat gathering Dec. 9 at Dunn Meadow with over 500 students attending.
Chabad at IU is a campus organization for Jewish students and educates others about Judaism. It hosts Jewish classes, has weekly Shabbat services, offers leadership opportunities and serves home cooked meals to its members.
“(Chabad) is here to facilitate a really unique and authentic Jewish experience for students in college,” sophomore Maddie Berkley, president of Chabad at IU, said.
Chabad at IU hosts Shabbat every Friday evening with services starting at 7:15 p.m. with dinner served at 7:30 p.m. Its Shabbat morning begins every Saturday with service at 11:30 a.m. and lunch is served at 1:30 p.m. All services and meals are free to students.
“(Shabbat) is a time where you disconnect from the outside world and connect with the people in your life whether it be your family, your friends, your college roommates, your fraternity brothers — whatever it could be,” senior Shawn Konichowsky, vice president of Chabad at IU, said.
According to a News at IU article, 10% of the student population is Jewish and recently, cases of antisemitism have risen due to comments made by rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
“Jews have dealt with antisemitism for thousands of years,” Berkley said. “We have 500 people coming together, celebrating their Jewish pride and we wanted to do it on a bigger scale this week than we normally do.”
Instead of hosting it at the Chabad House, located at 703 E. Seventh St., it was held in Dunn Meadow from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The dinner consisted of starter dishes like pretzel Challah, hearty Matzah ball soup, a main course and dessert such as chocolate rugelach.
“I decided to come out in rise of the recent antisemitic attacks and show my support and solidarity for the Jewish community,” freshman Sydney Glickman said. “I was so surprised and was not expecting to see so many people here, which is really comforting to know that all these people here care about the same issues.”
In the future, Chabad at IU plans to host events to commemorate Hanukah, bar and bat mitzvah celebrations and Passover events. Berkley says that if there is a Jewish holiday, Chabad at IU has an event for it and welcomes any Jewish student who may feel alone and need a place to go.
“The more people we can connect and embrace in our community, the better,” Konichowsky said. “This is the kind of student organization where what you put into it, you will get out of it, so getting more and more people to come on a regular basis, expanding that community and growing the love — that’s what we’re hoping to accomplish.”