For the first time ever, Chabad House is overflowing with 100 students in its dorms and 200 students signed up for its Kosher Dining Program.
Chabad House’s Grand Opening Week was a tremendous success. It all started on Sunday, September 4th at 10:00 am as the first group of students, moved into Chabad’s Residence Hall for Rutgers University’s fall semester. The Residence Hall, operating this year at full capacity, is a “Home Away From Home” for 100 men and women. Moving in day was a huge success with families some of whom are Chabad alumni, happily seeing their children off for their first year of college knowing that they will be part of a welcoming and loving community and staying in Chabad’s luxury suites. All the students were warmly welcomed by Chabad House’s Resident Assistants and given special gifts for their dorm rooms.
That Tuesday, September 6, Chabad House welcomed in over 500 incoming first-year students together with returning students to its JCafe Israeli Grill Open House and Jewish Involvement Fair. “It was so great to catch up with all my friends and meet so many new people,” said Junior Mikey Finkelstein. The event included a showcase of Chabad’s panoply of programs with student leaders of the many clubs Chabad sponsors each and every week on campus, including the Rutgers Jewish Community Service Group, the Shabbat Committee, the RU4Israel Advocacy Group, and Social JCafe Leadership Team, Sushi and Soul, and the Challah Baking Committee, just to name a few! JCafe is a weekly event led and organized by Rabbi Baruch Goodman, Chabad’s Campus Rabbi, and his Student Leadership Team. It brings hundreds of students together every Tuesday night to unwind, socialize, and eat delicious food cooked right at Chabad.
Chabad’s new Chef Moshe Schoenfeld began the new year with a medley of prepared delicious, hot Israeli Shwarma Grill with, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and exotic mocktails, offering the new students a sampling of the typically scrumptious foods prepared on a daily basis at Chabad’s 24/7 Kosher Meal Plan, now boasting 200 enrolled students enjoying three meals per day and over 600 participating students each Shabbat. Chef Moshe is renowned for his experience in kosher catering as a world-class caterer.
The week wrapped up with a beautiful and spiritual Shabbat dinner attended by over 500 students from across the university campus. That evening, they enjoyed candle lighting, lively services, a speech by Rabbi Goodman, and a complete Shabbat meal featuring Kiddush, home-baked Challah, Gefilte fish, Israeli salad, chicken soup, exquisite main courses, and Viennese desserts. They sang, told stories, and befriended hundreds of Jews or reconnected with friends, in the non-judgmental, community-based Chabad atmosphere. Shabbat at Chabad has always been the highlight of the week and a spiritual haven for the hundreds of students that walk in and find a place to call home. The students are now eagerly looking forward to spending a beautiful and spiritual Rosh Hoshanah Holiday at Chabad, together with their new friends.
As the first weeks of the semester fall into the students’ hectic routine of studying, meeting assignment deadlines, and running to catch a bus to the next class, Chabad becomes a welcoming and safe space providing an instant community with friends and family on campus for 43-years. Rutgers University has become the number one destination for Jewish students in the United States with close to 7,000 Jewish students on campus and Chabad proudly serves them all.