More than 150 college students from across the Lone Star State united with their Texas tribe in College Station, Texas for the 10th Annual Intercollegiate Texas Shabbaton.
Hosted by Chabad at Texas A&M University, the energetic weekend event included late-night discussions, expert-led lectures, panels, icebreakers, prayer services and, of course, plenty of food. Students from Texas A&M, Texas State University, University of Texas at Austin, and Rice University were able to unwind from their studies, socialize with friends and get their Shabbat on!
A partnership between Chabad on Campus International (COCI) and local Chabad Student Centers, the event kicked off in the early evening Friday as students joined with women worldwide in adding light to the universe at an uplifting candle lighting ceremony to welcome Shabbat, led by Rebbetzin Chaya Weingarten (Texas State).
Shabbos dinner brought greetings from Master of Ceremonies Rabbi Ari Weingarten (Texas State) and Rabbi Avi Weinstein (COCI).
The highlight of the evening was the featured presentation from Hollywood screenwriter David Weiss. Best known for writing films including All Dogs Go to Heaven, The Rugrats Movie and The Smurfs, the Emmy-nominated writer shared tales of his wild ride as a Hollywood screenwriter who became an observant Jew.
Later that night, the group farbenged with special guest, the Pop Art Rabbi Yitzchock Moully, as well as rabbis Shmuli Slonim (Rice) and Zev Johnson (University of Texas). There was a lot of light-hearted discussion, singing, brief insights and all around good times.
Shabbos included morning services or a prayer introduction workshop, followed by a dating session for single students, who may have stopped swiping right just long enough to learn a few “Jewish Dating Secrets.” Later in the day, students learned about the many ways Chabad can help them invest in their Jewish knowledge at various Yeshivas and short-term study programs around the world, as well as some tips for handling pressure and stress from Weiss during the workshop, “Why Pray When You Can Worry?”
Shabbos wrapped up with a “Stump the Panel” discussion with Shluchim and Shluchos and a musical Havdalah. “For someone who has never done Havdalah before, it was such an amazing experience gathering with so many Jews from around Texas and doing Havdalah all together.” said Blaire Nevit, a Junior at Texas A&M, “From all the songs, the food, and the memories, it was an incredible weekend that I’ll never forget.”
The fun was far from over at sundown, however, with a little help from the Saturday night Mega Event, which included a massive BBQ, live music and a caricaturist. Students were given the chance to make their own screen art. They also discovered Torah ideas in their favorite film scenes during Saturday Night at the Movies.
The weekend event ended Sunday morning as students said their goodbyes and prepared to bring the Shabbaton spirit back to their own campuses. “There was incredible energy and Jewish pride. The Shabbaton provided an opportunity for young college students to join together and share their ideas and Jewish passion. I am very certain that the future of the Jewish people is bright,” said Manya Lazaroff, co-director of Chabad at Texas A&M.