What Are Students Saying About Shabbos @ Wilf?
In a recent Commentator article, my friend and classmate Brian Chernigoff reflected on his Simchat Torah experience and shared some of his thoughts about the Shabbos community on the Wilf Campus. At the end of his article, he stated, “I hope that people will submit additional articles discussing their point of view on this matter.” I decided to take Brian’s advice by writing this article, which will reflect on my own Shabbos experiences uptown, as well other students’ experiences.
Personally, I am a very big fan of the Shabbos community uptown and would encourage students to stay in more often for Shabbos. My favorite part of Shabbos here is that it provides me with the opportunity to meet and talk to people that I wouldn’t normally see during the week. In the caf, I like to sit next to new faces, or with friends from my yeshiva in Israel or high school that I rarely see during the week. I have met many of my closest friends in YU by staying in for Shabbos.
When I recently asked other students what they particularly enjoy about Shabbos, I noticed that many of them referenced a common theme of friendship and camaraderie. Matthew Silkin (YC ’19) said: “What really makes Shabbos on campus for me are the other people who are here. I have friends on campus, and Shabbos is one of the only times that I can really relax with them without stressing about classes or work or, well, really anything.” Ely Bloch (SSSB ‘21) shared a similar sentiment: “I particularly enjoy the ability to hang out with the people I constantly pass in the halls or dorms and don’t get a chance to chill with, or even get the chance to say anything more than ‘hey.’ There is no rush on Shabbos and that creates the ability to form a community even if just for Shabbos, and that makes Shabbos here (and the week) much better!”
Another aspect of Shabbos on campus that I appreciate is the choice of minyanim available. I’ll usually start off my Shabbos with the harmonious and impactful kabbalat Shabbat in Klein. Irwin Leventer (YC ’19) thinks that this minyan is “a beautiful way for students to come together and be spiritually expressive through music.” For students who like a slightly quicker minyan, the Rubin minyan is available to them as well. Conversely, students who enjoy a “yeshiva style” minyan have the option of Glueck.
One of the unique programming opportunities on Shabbos are the shiurim given by different Roshei Yeshiva who stay in each week on campus. Yitzy Laster (YC ’20) described them as “an opportunity to hear rebbei’im speak about topics in hashkafa and machshava that wouldn't normally be discussed in a daily iyun shiur. The Friday night tisch is an especially good time for this." Most of the students who I spoke with stated they enjoy the content of the shiurim given on Shabbos. Other students, such as Josh Leichter (YC ’21), “feel there should be more accessible shiurim geared towards IBC students who may not find the current shiurim engaging.”
Regarding the Caf, I received a mixture of responses from students. Yehuda Rosenfeld (SSSB ’20) told me he thinks that “the Caf is nice when there is a big crowd.” One anonymous student told me that “Caf food needs improvement.” Another anonymous student said that though “Friday night food is gross, the food at lunch is pretty good.” While I personally would not describe the food as gross, I would agree that the meal at lunch is a lot better than the one at night. With that said, nobody is “starving” on Shabbos and I think that most students would agree that the food in the caf is not a major deterrent from staying in for Shabbos.
Overall, Shabbos on the Wilf Campus seems to be a positive experience for many students. It is a time where people feel they can relax and hang out with friends. The minyanim and shiurim create an atmosphere that allows many students to feel spiritually connected to Shabbos. If you have yet to stay in for Shabbos on campus, I’d highly encourage you to do so.
Photo caption: Aerial view of Wilf Campus.
Photo credit: Yeshiva University