USF students travel to Gainesville for statewide Shabbaton
Jewish college students from across the state including the University of South Florida gathered for a Shabbat experience, hosted by the Lubavitch Chabad Jewish Student & Community Center at the University of Florida, Feb. 24-26.
The Chabad on Campus Florida Shabbaton featured festive meals, beginner’s prayer services, teachers and speakers, educational workshops, a musical, a candle-lit Havdalah service and a Saturday night barbecue.
Students attending the Shabbaton came from a variety of backgrounds. Some were exposed to Judaism at a young age, while others just recently found out about their heritage.
According to Rabbi Pinny Backman, Executive Director of Chabad at the University of South Florida, the diversity of the students that attended the Shabbaton created the unique atmosphere of the weekend.
“Jewish life on campus in the state of Florida is one of the strongest in the nation,” he said. “The atmosphere of the weekend provides a unique opportunity for students to fully embrace all aspects of Shabbat, both physically and spiritually, as they are fully immersed in the Shabbat experience for 25 hours.”
Other notable programming included a workshop on dealing with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on campus, and of course, discussions surrounding Judaism’s view of love, intimacy and dating.
“The Shabbaton was both a lot of fun and really meaningful” said Amy Loesberg, sophomore at The University of South Florida studying speech pathology. “It was great to get together with students from all over Florida in an intimate setting and celebrate Shabbat.”
The Shabbaton was partially sponsored by Chabad on Campus International, and organized by a committee of Chabad on Campus directors across the state.