Hillel hosts final Shabbat dinner of the semester

About 200 people were in attendance, including FAU President John Kelly and Congressman Ted Deutch.

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Hillel hosts final Shabbat dinner of the semester

FAU President John Kelly speaks to the crowd about his upcoming trip to Israel. Photo by Carla Viviana Lopez

FAU President John Kelly speaks to the crowd about his upcoming trip to Israel. Photo by Carla Viviana Lopez

FAU President John Kelly speaks to the crowd about his upcoming trip to Israel. Photo by Carla Viviana Lopez

FAU President John Kelly speaks to the crowd about his upcoming trip to Israel. Photo by Carla Viviana Lopez

Carla Viviana Lopez, Contributing Writer

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Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach offers a free Shabbat dinner to FAU students every other Friday, but last Friday marked their last Shabbat event until August.

Shabbat is a Jewish tradition where a day of rest is observed from Friday evening until Saturday evening, and it includes “candle lighting, singing Shabbat songs, [and] eating nice meals with friends,” according to Vice President of Shabbat and Holidays Jayda Pierre. The event was hosted at the FAU Acura Club, and about 200 people were in attendance, including FAU President John Kelly and Congressman Ted Deutch.

“Final Shabbat represents an end to an era for students [and] staff, to recognize and remember all great accomplishments we had in the last year,” Galy Wolkowicz, a member of the nonprofit organization Jewish Agency for Israel and dinner attendee, said.

Students from Nova Southeastern University, Lynn University, and Broward College were also in attendance, as these schools are part of the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach region. Each of these campuses has its own Hillel center like FAU, and all of them are linked to Hillel International, the overarching nonprofit organization dedicated to Jewish students around the world.

After the crowd ate, Kelly spoke about his upcoming trip to Israel with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, where they will “strengthen the FAU and Israel relationship.”

Kelly said he wants to recruit retired Israeli professors to teach at FAU. He has also signed with several universities, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to have more exchange programs to Israel.

Toward the end of the Shabbat observation, Helene and Manny Diner presented the Darin Diner Scholarship Award, which is named after their late son and former Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach executive director Darin Diner.

This annual award is typically given to a student who shows passion for helping the Jewish community, but this year there were two winners —  Tal Lubasrky, a political science major and president of the Hillel at Nova Southeastern University, and Kal Marcus, an English major at FAU and president of Hillel’s Student Board. There hasn’t been more than one winner since 2013.

Hillel will start to serve Shabbat dinners again during the upcoming fall semester.

Carla Viviana Lopez is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].