Melave Malka: An Opportunity For Unity
As part of an effort to boost the morale of the Yeshiva students, The Rabbi Isacc Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) recently hosted a “Yeshiva-Wide” melave malka (post-Shabbat meal) followed by a concert with Eitan Katz, the renowned Jewish musician. The celebration followed one of the most heavily attended in-Shabbat weekends over the last two years. In addition to current students, YU hosted a Shabbaton for prospective senior students and some 11th grade MTA students, greatly increasing the amount of spirit, or ruach, for all students in attendance.
Over the course of Shabbat, Rabbi Penner, Rabbi Schachter, and Rabbi Weinberger gave shiurim (lectures) on a host of pertinent issues, such as the necessity of preserving our rich Orthodox tradition in the 21st century. At the melave malka, Rav Schachter discussed how ohr, the positive awareness of G-D, generated by the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot, can illuminate the tumultuous times in which we live.
During the week prior the the eventful Shabbat, Rabbi Penner, the dean of the Judaic Studies Program, delivered brief speeches in the Glueck and Zysman batei midrash on the importance of achdut (unity) and rachav leyv (having a “wide heart”), togetherness and empathy, in such trying times. He explained that the planned Shabbat festivities were not only to provide the students with a source of entertainment, but were designed to promote empathy and cohesion within the student community as well.
After an inspiring Shabbat and meaningful melave malka meal with the Roshei Yeshiva and President Richard Joel, the students joined together for a phenomenal concert with Eitan Katz. Although the Shabbat extravaganza was planned in the middle of midterm season, the fun-filled Shabbat enabled the students to take time off from their busy schedules and focus on their personal development, preparing them for another successful week of university and growth in their avodat Hashem (service of God).
Reflecting on the success of the Shabbaton and the concert, Shimon Niren, a sophomore student, stated that he “definitely felt uplifted by the strong feelings of achdus” at the event. He added: “I heard about these Shabbatons and experienced one in 12th grade, I really wanted to attend YU. This concert exceeded my high expectations.”
Another pleased student, Yosef Postelnek, a senior, remarked that “these kinds of events really cultivate a sense of achdus between the talmidim of the yeshiva and the rebbeim,” attributes which are necessary, especially in the tumultuous times in which we currently live.
The event was a great success, for it enabled students from various social circles to join together to show support for each other and demonstrate a sense of pride in their Jewish heritage and identity in a safe, positive environment.