By Blair Donner
April showers bring May flowers. On some level, the old saying was true at Chabad House this Friday May 1, 2015. Over 300 students attended a Shabbat dinner celebration honoring graduating seniors. Just like a blossoming flower, these seniors are ready to leave Rutgers and move on to whatever comes next in their life’s journey. Unfortunately, becoming an alumni of Rutgers University also means becoming an alumni of Chabad House at Rutgers. Of course, Chabad House welcomes any old graduates back openly and warmly, and dearly misses each past student.
At the ceremony, the usual Shabbat customs were followed. The entire hall was packed with current students, invited guests, and even some parents. Honored soon-to-be alumni were granted the opportunity to speak in front of all the guests, but first some fifty notable current students were acknowledged and gifted a token of appreciation for their time and effort during the past year. Services of these undergraduates mainly consisted of selfless volunteer work and community service within the Jewish community. As Rabbi Baruch Goodman called their names up one by one, the clear mix of surprise and appreciation was evident in each honoree’s smile.
After this, the seniors were given their due opportunity to say some final words to their attentive peers. Mitch Segal, current President of Chabad House was one of the seniors who spoke that evening. “It went by too quickly,” he advised the crowd, “Enjoy each of your four years here, before you know it you will be a senior like me.” His speech was met with a grateful applaud by the audience.
Another notable student being honored was Talia Friedman, a dedicated volunteer to Chabad House and the Jewish community. As a volunteer at the Robert Wood Johnson Children’s Specialized Hospital and active editor of the Rutgers Chabad weekly, Miss Friedman is a role model to the future generations of the Jewish community. Rabbi Shaya, commended her on her dedication to the community as well as to his own family including caring for his children even amidst the hectic schedule of her double major in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies. A multitude of other students also experienced similar honors.
Overall, the atmosphere was inundated with both excitement and melancholy. These seniors are soon to move on to the future, to do things they have studied years for, and to leave their impact on the world. Yet, in moving on, the Chabad House and Rutgers community has lost some of its dedicated members. Functioning as a family, it is not easy to say good bye to these friends who are like the big brothers and sisters to the underclassmen. This Shabbat celebration was extra special, filled with both laughter and tears. Hopefully, in the upcoming Friday night Shabbats these upcoming Rutgers alumni will not be strangers and visit often.
Chabad House at Rutgers would like to extend a heartfelt mazal tov and best wishes to all the seniors and hope they continue to be outstanding role models to the younger generations.
For more information or to donate, visit us on the web at http://www.ChabadNJ.org or call us at 732-296-1800. Chabad House at Rutgers University is located at 170 College Ave, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901.