April 21, 2011 – Targum Shlishi is supporting Tulane Hillel’s ongoing program of offering free Shabbat dinners to all Jewish college students in New Orleans on Friday nights during the academic year. The foundation’s funds are earmarked for Shabbat dinners when there are speakers on the topics of Israel and Zionism.
Tulane Hillel’s free Shabbat dinners are popular events that typically draw almost two hundred students weekly. There are two services held simultaneously (Reform/Renewal and Conservative/Carlebach) prior to the dinner. Tulane Hillel plans to hold five Israel-themed Shabbats with invited speakers during spring and fall 2011. Several other donors are also helping to support this effort – many are parents whose children have participated in the free Shabbat dinners.
“Tulane Hillel is obviously doing something right to be attracting almost two hundred students to their Shabbat dinners. The fact is that these evenings work,” says Aryeh Rubin, founder and director of Targum Shlishi. “We are attracted by the combination of religious services, a communal dining experience, and education on the topic of Israel, all of it presented in a warm and welcoming environment. It’s a very positive experience for students, and one that we’re proud to help support.”
The Shabbat dinners emphasize community and provide students with the chance to reflect, relax, and celebrate their Judaism. The speaker series on Israel is currently in the planning stages. The objective for the series of talks as a whole is to address a variety of aspects related to Israel, including politics and advocacy, innovation and technology, culture, and human rights.
“Tulane Hillel aims to be a ‘Jewish home away from home’ for students, and it’s particularly gratifying that our Shabbat dinners have become so popular,” notes Rabbi Yonah Schiller, executive director of Tulane Hillel and campus rabbi. “We’re encouraged by the Friday night turnout not only because participation impacts positively on students’ lives today, but because it will have future benefits. We know from both quantitative and anecdotal research that students who choose to observe Shabbat while in college are much more likely to continue to prioritize their Jewish identity as adults.”
About Tulane Hillel
Tulane Hillel’s mission is to serve as a Jewish resource on campus committed to empowering students to make Jewish connections, building dynamic communities, and generating excitement about Jewish life on campus. Tulane Hillel offers religious, cultural, spiritual, and educational programming to address the needs of the more than 2500 Jewish college students in New Orleans (at Tulane, Loyola, and the University of New Orleans). For more information on Tulane Hillel, visit its website at www.tulanehillel.org.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org.