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Shabbat dinner at Binghamton University to draw more than 2,000 students

This year marks the 30th year since the inception of the program, originally named “Shabbat 1000.”

Women light candles before the start of Shabbat at the 25th anniversary dinner of the Shabbat 1800 program at Binghamton University, April 5, 2019. Photo by R. Coschignano/Chabad of Binghamton.
Women light candles before the start of Shabbat at the 25th anniversary dinner of the Shabbat 1800 program at Binghamton University, April 5, 2019. Photo by R. Coschignano/Chabad of Binghamton.

“Shabbat 2400,” at which organizers expect more than 2000 students to gather to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath, will take place at the Binghamton University events center on April 5.

This year marks the 30th year since the inception of the program at Binghamton University in New York State, which retains the national record for gathering the greatest number of students in one place for a Shabbat dinner, even as it has jump-started similar programs on campuses across this country and around the world.

This year, following Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7 and the unprecedented level of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment that has followed, the event takes on greater significance than ever before.

“The program, originally named ‘Shabbat 1000,’ was conceived by the Rohr Chabad Center in Binghamton in 1994,” said Rabbi Aaron Slonim, executive director of the Rohr Chabad Center. “A program like this can only succeed where there is a well-established Jewish infrastructure, and a vibrant and dedicated core of Jewish students (over 235 volunteers),” said programming director Goldie Ohana. “It’s a real tribute to our student leadership and organizing committees.”

The event will include a dinner highlighted by Shabbat traditions such as Kiddush, the Hamotzi, candle-lighting and songs.

Students are planning to bring friends and acquaintances from their dorms, classes, fraternities and sororities, professional groups, sports teams and other social venues. A publicity blitz on campus—Matzah Ball Mania—also drew in attendees. “Planning has been ongoing for months, powered by motivated students who are passionate about sharing a Shabbat experience with other people,” explained major programs coordinator Michal Levine, a junior at the school.

“As the event got closer, our enthusiasm and drive continued to grow. Planning Shabbat 2400 was an experience full of ambition, creativity, and teamwork,” said Haley Wilenzick, a sophomore, who along with sophomore Avi Gordon and senior Hannah Kirsch is coordinating the event. “We are so appreciative to have been a part of making it all come together.”

In addition to mammoth efforts and grit, the program involves huge amounts of food. The event requires 775 pounds of chicken; 360 pounds of challah; 2,400 matzah balls; and 250 22-oz. bottles of grape juice. That’s in addition to the salads, traditional kugel and a dessert buffet.

Shabbat 2400 is a National Chabad on Campus Initiative.

The program is organized and hosted by the Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life with corporate sponsorship by many local vendors, and co-sponsorship by many campus groups and clubs. The event is free and open to students, faculty and staff.

Reservations can be made at: www.Shabbat2400.com

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