Hillel, the Jewish Stufdent Centre

A Multi-Faith Experience: Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat is the Jewish Day of Rest that lasts from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. I had the chance to participate in a Shabbat dinner with fellow Storyteller, Sammi, as part of the Multi-Faith Centre's Interfaith Meals series. Here is a bit more about our experience!

Photo of 3 students smiling
Clara, Yashvit and Sammi

Yashvit: It all started with Sammi and I heading to the Multi-Faith Centre. There were almost 40 students gathered together to head to Hillel, a centre that fosters community and helps students "create [their] Jewish life on campus".

Photo of a large group of students standing around a table
Students ready to head to Hillel from Koffler Student Centre

After we were seated in the dining hall, we were introduced to the team at Hillel which was followed by the washing of hands, singing several sacred hymns and blessings, and sipping the grape juice, an alternative to ceremonial kiddush wine. Thereafter, we all indulged in the breaking of the traditional challah bread. Mixed in were lots of fun and engaging activities happening on the table.

Photo of a piece of paper with "Table Discussion Prompts for Multifaith Shabbat Dinner"
Student engagement activities before commencing the Shabbat Dinner

Sammi: Being a part of the Multi-Faith Shabbat dinner was an uplifting and emotional experience. This meal brought together people of all different backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities to enjoy a dinner together and celebrate the unique culture and celebrations of Jewish tradition, which was heartwarming. We ate a delicious chicken dinner with potatoes, cooked vegetables and a chocolate brownie for dessert. The Hillel executive team and student leaders made the message clear that in this community, all are welcome. I was touched by the idea that we, as humans, are all one. At the end of the meal the student president, Nava, sang a prayer in thanks for the food. Students all clapped and banged to the rhythm on the table; most didn’t know the words or maybe even what page the prayer was coming from, but showed support nonetheless. When the prayer ended I had tears in my eyes; what a special sight to see so many people brought together and getting to experience a piece of Jewish heritage.

I recommend everyone to continue joining in on various cultures and experiences to see that we really aren’t so different from one another. We all just want to sing, show gratitude, and of course, eat! This was a night I will definitely remember.

– Sammi & Yashvit

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