Things on campus feel a little different these days, but Shabbat isn't going anywhere. While we work toward the end of the pandemic, we cannot host in-person Shabbat dinners, so they will take a hybrid format instead: a Zoom call and a Shabbat-To-Go package.
The biggest change is that RSVPs, which used to be merely appreciated, are now mandatory. You can do this by texting SHALOM to 617-295-7707. RSVPs must be in before 12pm each Thursday.
Come pick up your Shabbat-To-Go kit from the Chabad house on Friday afternoons. This kit will be replete with all the delicious food you know and love, as well as candles and some other essentials to make your Shabbat meal special!
You will receive a link to the Zoom in the Chabad weekly email, which you can sign up for on the homepage. These calls will take place on Fridays before Shabbat from the comfort of wherever you have Internet access and will give you a virtual taste of Shabbat at Chabad. Just think of it as gathering around a really, really big table. You do not need to RSVP to engage in the Zoom.
To read more about what Shabbat at Chabad usually looks like (in normal, non-pandemic times), feel free to read below!
Come Join Us!
If you show up at 6pm, you'll get to enjoy Kabbalat Shabbat services. Otherwise you can show up at 6:45pm for Kiddush and a delicious five-course meal.
We have a strict "come and go as you please" policy, so think of the Chabad House as coming home to celebrate with your own family. Let yourself in, let yourself out. Most people leave after dessert around 8:15pm, while others stay past 11pm.
Through September, you and your friends can meet a peer representative at one of our three Shabbos Stops (in front of Carmichael, Dewick, or Hodgdon) any time between 6:15-6:30pm to walk over to Chabad together. Just look for the sign!
Here are some things you can count on happening your first time:
Someone will probably give you a hug.
Rabbi Tzvi and Chanie will come introduce themselves. They'll likely have a cousin in your hometown.
You'll eat way too much because every course you think, "This must be the main course," and then it isn't.
Over dinner you'll engage in conversation with a student you've never met before and who might just end up becoming one of your best friends.
One of Rabbi Tzvi and Chanie's younger children will ask to play with you. Careful—if you get sucked into a game of Scrabble or Battleship, time flies.
You won't understand how dessert could taste this good. And wait a minute, you're telling me this is non-dairy?!
You'll go home with a smile on your face.
What to Expect
So you're thinking of joining us for Shabbat! What exactly are you in for?
Shabbat (in Hebrew, Shabbos in Yiddish, Sabbath in English) is a day of rest that lasts from sundown on Friday through nightfall on Saturday (because in Judaism, days start at sundown, not sunrise). If you're like most Tufts students, slowing down your train of thought and taking a real break from work isn't the easiest thing to do, so Shabbat gives you an excuse to force yourself to relax.
In addition to all the things observant Jews will famously not do on Shabbat (like drive or work), there are a host of things we do do in order to “make the Shabbat a delight” (in the words of Isaiah 58:13). A big part of the “delight” of Shabbat is the Friday night meal, initiated with the sipping of ceremonial kiddush wine and the breaking of traditional challah bread, and lingered over with songs, inspiring thoughts and camaraderie.
If you are joining as a guest, the first thing for you to know is that guests are considered an integral part of any Shabbat meal. Not only are we happy to have you - the meal just wouldn't feel right without you!
WHAT TO WEAR
Some dress up, some don't. We're really looking more at your smiling faces than your clothes, but many come in business casual if comfortable.
4-6pm LIGHT CANDLES
Women often come early to join Chanie and her daughters for a special Shabbat candle lighting. Then the time spent between candle lighting and eating likely will be filled with a combination of chatting, final meal preparations, or just simply relaxing on the couch and entertaining a brigade of eager Backman children. (Remember, Shabbat starts on Friday at sundown, so the exact time for candle lighting will change. But don't worry; you can find it here!)
6pm PRAY IF YOU'D LIKE
At 6pm, there is an upbeat Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service, full of melodies that will draw your heart and soul into prayer and leave you energized and uplifted. But no shame in skipping this part and coming for dinner at 6:45pm - we still can't wait to see you.
6:45pm EAT AND ENJOY
At 6:45pm(ish) we'll head upstairs to eat. First, two joyful songs as people trickle in, "Shalom Aleichem" (the Shabbat anthem) and "Eishet Chayil" (a tribute to the feminine energy within our world and within Shabbat).
As we gather around the elegantly set table featuring those candles from earlier, Rabbi Tzvi recites the brief kiddush prayer and drinks a glass of wine. Then to the kitchen for a ritual handwashing (it's even simpler than the way you usually wash your hands - if you're unfamiliar, just watch someone). Return to your seat, Rabbi Tzvi says the even briefer motzi prayer over the challah. And Shabbat dinner has officially begun.
Shabbat dinners here are five courses, including gefilte fish, a myriad of fresh salads, and a steaming bowl of matzoball soup, followed by vegetables, chicken, maybe rice, noodles, or kugel, and Chanie's famous butternut pie, plus dessert courtesy of the Backman children. No pressure to eat or even taste everything, but be prepared that what might seem like the whole meal is just the first course.
Some Saturdays we'll have a minyan and a relaxed and traditional Shabbat morning service. No need to read Hebrew! And (of course!) a huge lunch served right after if you have time to stick around. Ask the rabbi if there will be a minyan this week.
Save the date for these themed Shabbats featuring global cuisine, special guests, and inspiring speakers.
OCT 18: Family Weekend Sukkot Shabbat
Bring your parents during Family Weekend! Come join us in the Sukkot for a wonderful, family-filled Shabbat dinner under the stars.
OCT 25: Kabbalah(t) Shabbat
Prepare to usher in the New Year with a mystical-themed Shabbat dinner. Come together in community and song to blend Jewish spirituality and self-care practices in a modern, secular world. Want to keep the feeling going? Let us know you’re interested in our new learning opportunities Kabbalah Cafe or Jewish Meditation!
NOV 1: Science & Torah Shabbat
Join us in welcoming Professor of Theoretical Physics Tom Imbo for a fascinating and fun discussion of when physics meets Judaism. Didn't get enough? Come back Saturday for lunch!
NOV 22: BYOB - Bring Your Own Buddy
Come together to celebrate the semester and the friendships it has fostered. Bring a friend (or two... or three...) to enjoy a heartwarming delicious Shabbat dinner.
JAN 24: Sushi Shabbat
It's twice as nice with fish and rice!
TBD: Pasta Shabbat
Different types of pasta features through every stage of the meal, from chicken noodle soup to sweet lokshen kugel. Fill the tummy and the soul—you can’t go wrong with pasta.
TBD: Shabbat Around the World
Enjoy an international twist the taste of Shabbat. From Venezuela to Russia to South Africa, experience on what Jewish foods look like around the globe.
TBD: Faculty Shabbat
Invite a faculty member! From language and IR to biology and mathematics, help us build an extremely diverse, exciting conversation around the Shabbat table.
TBD: My Shabbat Abroad
Hear students’ personal stories about their Jewish experiences abroad, over a table of dishes with a nod to these foreign countries. Learn more about connecting with Chabad and Judaism abroad.
HAVE ANOTHER IDEA?