Supporters, alumni, and students attended the 26th Anniversary Celebration of Chabad House on Campus, held at Chatham University, in Pittsburgh, PA on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.
Chabad House on Campus, serving the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, and CCAC, is directed by Rabbi Shmuel and Sara Weinstein. Program and Graduate Student Directors are Rabbi Shua and Shoshana Hoexter.
The theme of the event was, “Chabad House: The Heart of Jewish Life on Campus.” Lou Weiss, MC for the evening, a prominent Pittsburgh supporter, and CEO of Weisslines, Inc., humored the crowd with his funny and insightful personal anecdotes.
Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, Head Shaliach of Western Pennsylvania, related the importance of Chabad’s role on campus, and the prospects for growth in the future. Rabbi Shmuel Weinstein described the expanded programs and new initiatives Chabad House will incorporate on campus. One important addition will be the announcement of a new couple, Rabbi Shmuel and Chasi Rothstein, who will join the Chabad House team later in the year.
Alumnus, Sruli Broocker, who received the Myer and Ann Cohen Service Award, emphasized how Chabad House made a difference in his life, and how crucial support is now at such a volatile time on campuses throughout the United States.
The Student Leadership Award was presented to University of Pittsburgh student Ben Dynan, a senior, graduating with a degree in psychology. Ben expressed the importance of the love and closeness that he experienced with the Weinsteins and Hoexters at the University of Pittsburgh, in addition to hearing from other students whose lives were also affected personally by their campus shluchim. A video produced by Chabad on Campus International was shown, followed by comments by Dr. Sean McGreevey, Asst. Dean of Student Affairs at Chatham University.
Dr. McGreevey described the cooperative relationship the University has with Chabad House, and the friendship he shares with the Weinsteins. In a series of entertaining stories, Dr. McGreevey described a number of memorable projects he and Rabbi Weinstein collaborated on, such as building a giant sukkah and cutting down bamboo from the campus grounds just hours before sundown of the holiday, as well as the presentation of the inaugural Spiritual Leadership Award given to Rabbi Shmuel and Sara Weinstein on behalf of their efforts for improving the quality of life for students at Chatham.
Keynote Speaker, Bari Weiss, Assoc. Book Editor of the Wall Street Journal, spoke of recognizing the effectiveness of Chabad worldwide in dealing with challenging times.
“This work that the Weinsteins and all Chabad emissaries do is especially crucial today, during this dark season of profound uncertainty and fear for the world and for our people. “While other Jewish organizations take a defensive posture,” she said, “Chabad plays offense.” Chabad’s response is: How about you come over and bake challah? Chabad’s response is: Can I take you on a trip to Israel? Chabad’s response is: Come over Thursday and we’ll study the parsha. Chabad’s response is: Can I teach you how to wrap tefillin? Chabad’s answer is to do Jewish, no matter what, to do it with joy and to pass that joy on to as many people as it can. It’s a 2,000-year-old game plan, but these days it feels almost radical.”
Ms. Weiss expressed the determination and unconditional love shown by Chabad shluchim in NYC who brought kosher hamentashen for Purim and doughnuts for Chanukah to her and her colleagues at the WSJ, who now look forward to seeing them every year.
“I believe that Chabad is arguably the most important movement in the Jewish world today outside of the building of the state of Israel. Thank you, truly, for the historically important work that you do.”
The Anniversary Celebration featured an elegant outdoor wine and cheese reception catered by Miriam Weiss of Kosher Thyme Catering. The atmosphere was set by the musical entertainment of Mordechai Epstein on violin and Yosef Silverman on guitar, followed by the evening’s program in the campus auditorium, the Eddy Theatre. Event coordinators were Donna Katz and Fraydi Silverman.
Photo: Lieba Dlinn
For more information check out www.chabadpgh.org.