Dinner for 500
  • Attendees sit down, ready to eat dinner together with about 500 others on Shabbat.
  • Challah is usually eaten on Shabbat and holidays. When set on the table, it is initially covered with a cloth to symbolize dew that collected on manna bread, a symbol from the book of Exodus.
  • Hillel’s Rabbi Aaron Potek explains the importance of challah bread in context of the Shabbat rituals.
  • The night’s table decorations include mini-loaves of challah bread and information packets with information on how to register for Birthright trips to Israel.
  • Attendees gather in the ground floor of Norris before the Shabbat dinner begins. Around 500 people were registered for MegaShabbat this year.
  • Baskets of challah bread and sparkling grape juice to be used for Shabbat rituals sit atop tables.
  • White boards line one side of the room, where attendees write down favorite Shabbat memories and what Shabbat means to them.
  • Volunteers check in MegaShabbat attendees in the ground floor of Norris.
  • Wyner feeds a Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkin to Weinberg senior Iszy Hirschtritt Licht. The volunteers had been helping prepare for the event since the late morning.
  • Communication senior Tina Umanskiy and Bienen freshman Ari Wyner help tie balloons together for table centerpieces. Both volunteered with MegaShabbat through Hillel.

Photos by Natalie Escobar / North by Northwestern

Over 500 people gathered at Norris University Center on Friday night for NU Hillel’s fourth annual MegaShabbat.

The event, co-sponsored by Alpha Epsilon Pi and the Office of University Chaplains, was held in Norris for the first time instead of the Allison Residential Community dining hall.

Both Jewish and non-Jewish participants took part in opening ceremonies and prayers that preceded the dinner, which took place in the ground floor of the building. The co-chairs, Weinberg senior Arielle Cooper and Weinberg sophomore Sammi Roth, welcomed attendees to the event and shared each of their favorite memories of Shabbat. Rabbi Aaron Potek then led songs and blessings before dinner was served.


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