By Elisheva Rosen
The Chabad House at Rutgers University was bursting at the seams Tuesday night, September 2nd as it opened its doors to celebrate the start of the new school year. Starting at 9 pm, Student Co-Presidents Jackie Roberman and Josh Herzfeld along with the Chabad Rabbis and the student leadership team, welcomed over 500 new and returning students alike to an Open House Shwarma Grill extravaganza. As the room swelled with energetic music and good food, students united to take a well-deserved break after a busy first day of school at Rutgers University. “The warmth I felt returning to Chabad was like the heat from the shwarma pit. It was amazing to see everyone again,” stated returning student Courtney Crosby.
At the beginning of the event, the students were shown a slideshow showcasing students at previous Chabad events prepared by Rutgers senior Talia Friedman . At the Open House, there were also booths set up to introduce the new students to all the fantastic programing at Chabad House. The most popular booth was the Birthright information table which was run by Justin Dinowitz, where students were given the details on how and when to register for an amazing journey to Israel. Chabad representatives also informed students about the weekly hospitals visits to visit Jewish patients at the local hospitals and the Adopt an IDF Soldier program. Returning students were encouraged to sign-up for CLI, more commonly known as the Chabad Learning Initiative, a ten week learning program run by Chabad. When asked about the event, first year student Cara summed up the thoughts of all the new students, “This is AMAZING! I can’t wait to see what Chabad has planned for the future.”
One of the highlights of the event was first year student Steve Gotlib, a magician, who entertained students with his card and mind tricks. Freshmen Rigel and Gedalya, along with numerous upperclassmen, were fascinated by Steve’s impromptu performances, “The magic tricks were awesome!” Steve, who hopes to have more opportunities to showcase his talents at future Chabad events, was ecstatic that fellow students wanted to see him perform, “I had an amazing time at my first official Rutgers Chabad event. It made me feel welcome in the new college environment. I can’t wait for next week’s Chabad event!”