Singing at Sundown Aims to Bring Spirituality to Wilf Campus Shabbat
On Saturday, December 2, a new co-ed Seudah Shlishit program was piloted by Dovid Simpser, the President of SOY. Entitled “Singing at Sundown,” the program will continue to occur every few weeks on a trial basis in order to test out the demand for the new program.
The program attracted about 50 people its first time around. It began with 15 minutes of food and socializing followed by singing that was “emotionally expressive” and “intense,” according to Simpser. The food that was served is the same food that is served at the Seudah Shlishit run by RIETS in the Cafe every week.
Simpser expressed that the program was designed to fill a spiritual need in the Yeshiva University Shabbat experience, in contrast with the current Seudah Shlishit programming offered by RIETS. “I am trying to create a model of dual programming so that everyone feels religiously engaged and satisfied,” said Simpser. The Seudah Shlishit program offered by REITS in the Cafe is only attended by men and usually features a large Dvar Torah with limited singing.
Simpser expressed that the process for creating Singing at Sundown was a natural progression from the founding of Klein at Nine, a new minyan on campus for morning services on Shabbat that is designed to mimic a community shul where there is value on both speed and singing. He explained that with the success of Klein at Nine each week, both “RIETS and the Office of Student Life (OSL) recognized the need for something that wasn’t the current programming.”
Klein at Nine celebrated its one year anniversary with the founding of Singing at Sundown.
Simpser conveyed that he experienced pushback from REITS and OSL, both of whom were concerned that the new program would fragment the YU community, which is unified at the current Seudah Shlishit program. Simpser responded by saying that while a unified program sounds nice, the reality is that “The people that fit [the program] will enjoy. And the people that don’t fit [the program] just won’t come.”
An attendee of Singing at Sundown, Amitai Glicksman, described his experience: “Singing at Sundown [is] special [because it] focuses on strengthening our connections. We connect with our friends and fellow community members through togetherness, and with Hashem through song and tefillah.”
Noah Marlowe, Vice President of SOY who also spearheaded the program said “Singing at Sundown is a new religious outlet available for YU students to express themselves in a way that is similar to…NCSY, Bnei Akiva, and Yeshiva/Midrasha.”
The next Singing at Sundown program is scheduled to take place on Jan 27, 2018 during the next SOY in-Shabbat. Men and women are invited to attend.