A Home away from Home
Chabad House offers the anchor and embrace of ‘family’ for Jewish students
What is a Chabad House?
Going away to college is a priceless opportunity to mature and thrive intellectually, socially and politically.
For Jewish students it is also an opportunity to deepen and broaden one’s Jewish identity, and enhance the sense of commitment and responsibility to the greater Jewish community — on campus, at home, across America and throughout the world. Chabad House offers the anchor and embrace of ‘family’ for Jewish students.
On-campus is where it all happens. Agony and ecstasy. Heartbreaks and breakthroughs. Frustration and fulfillment. The possibilities and the pitfalls are endless. Which is what opportunity is all about.
For many Jewish students on the American campus the most important question is “Why?”
Why should I care about my Jewish identity?
Why should it matter what kind of Jew I am?
Why shouldn’t I date and marry whomever I want?
Others have fewer questions. They arrive with a strong Jewish identity and a genuine desire to maintain, nurture and enhance their Jewish character during these critical college and graduate years.
Nevertheless, it can be challenging to find oneself a minority within a minority. Everywhere there are voices urging change, experimentation, the reconsideration of Israel’s legitimacy, the alleged anachronism of heritage.
On leading campuses all across America the Chabad House offers the anchor and embrace of ‘family’ for Jewish students regardless of background, observance or affiliation. It provides a safe haven in an ocean of uncertainty — an address any Jewish student can turn to for any reason at all 24 hours a day.
Some come on a Friday night for a bowl of homemade chicken soup, fresh baked challah and camaraderie;
Some come in order to participate in vital efforts that help the community — clothing drives for the homeless, blood drives for the sick;
Some come simply to socialize — to relax and enjoy themselves with Jewish activities such as Challah or Hamantashen baking, Shofar making, or trips to Holocaust and Jewish museums; or activities with other Jewish students including kosher cooking, spa night, concerts, the Kosher Movie Club, skiing, paintball, hikes, chorus or athletics;
Some come during a moment of personal crisis knowing they will always get a discreet, sympathetic ear, an warm heart and appropriate advice or referrals;
Some come for one of the myriad classes offered — from beginner’s Hebrew to Parsha, Mysticism and advanced Talmud — or simply to ask serious questions about Judaism. (It’s remarkable how many students — despite their large academic load — are eager and ready to learn without credit when it comes to Judaism and Jewish lore;)
Some come to attend Shabbat or holiday services;
Chabad activity on campus is not limited to what goes on in the Chabad House. Chabad is inherently extroverted, and an active and highly visible presence throughout each campus — reaching out to Jewish students through tabling, holiday celebrations, at the Student Union and on fraternity/sorority row.
Campus-based Chabad Houses can be found at over 100 colleges and universities across America, and in many countries around the world. Hundreds of other campuses are served by nearby community-based Chabad-Lubavitch centers. They are staffed by Chabad-Lubavitch couples whose sole purpose is to embrace the totality of the Jewish community and foster a viable Jewish future through love and acceptance of every Jew.
Walk into a Chabad House on Friday evening and you will be amazed, shocked, delighted, and baffled by the mélange of students that come together for a few hours of real Jewish fellowship. Those attending have only one common denominator — they are all Jewish.
Courtesy of Chabad.org