On Nov. 22, the University of Maryland Hillel hosted its eighth-annual Gorlin Family Foundation Shabbat Across Maryland (SHABAM), bringing together thousands of University of Maryland students for Shabbat dinners in more than 80 locations around the College Park campus. This year’s SHABAM saw a record-breaking number of participants, with 1,600 Terps attending Shabbat dinners ranging from meals in 25 fraternity and sorority houses, meals for alumni of youth groups such as BBYO, USY and NCSY, camp reunion meals, high school alumni coming together, and meals focused on a specific interest or activity on campus. SHABAM was also celebrated across the country and in Israel by U.Md. alumni.
“SHABAM meals are an opportunity for students to bring together groups of their peers who might not usually celebrate Shabbat together or even interact on campus, over a Friday night dinner table,” explained Maiya Chard-Yaron, director of educational engagement at Maryland Hillel. “This project literally touches every corner of campus.”
Participants also came together after their meals at four onegs across campus to have dessert, socialize and celebrate Shabbat with other SHABAM participants away from the weekly stresses of classes, homework and exams.
“A program like SHABAM is so great because it gives you a chance to just take the time to be who you are, where you are, with your friends. No distractions of homework, or phones or social media,” said University of Maryland sophomore Julia Ring who hosted her own SHABAM meal.
“SHABAM allows our students to connect with other Jews in a positive atmosphere,” said Ari Israel, Maryland Hillel’s executive director. “This year’s record-breaking number of participants really shows that our students find this program meaningful to them year after year. SHABAM is Maryland Hillel’s antidote to the recent Pew study.