By: Doron Loeser | Features  | 

From the Commie Archives (May 14, 1980; Volume 45 Issue 11) — Yeshiva Council Sponsors Intercollegiate Shabbaton


Editor’s Note: Though 39 years have passed, many things about YU student life have changed very little since 1980. This article documents another Uptown Coed Shabbaton that was advertised at the time as the “first” of its kind. Will another such Shabbaton take place before 2058? Only time will tell.


In a string of successful events sponsored this year by the Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women Student Councils, the Intercollegiate Shabbaton held on May 2-3 proved to be no exception. The Shabbaton was held at Yeshiva College rather than at Stern because, according to YCSC President Marc Schneier, there is a “unique Shabbat atmosphere at Yeshiva” and the Council desired “to bring more events up to Washington Heights.” The featured attraction for the 150 Shabbaton participants, which included students from YC, Stern, Queens, NYU, and Adelphi, was a special Lag Ba’omer Rollerskating Party held Saturday night in Yeshiva gym, probably another “first” in Yeshiva history.

On Friday afternoon, students arrived to check in at the Morgenstern dorm and taxi arrangements were made to take the girls to their respective hosts in the Heights. The Shabbaton was officially inaugurated by Shabbaton Chairman Barry Tokayer who welcomed the participants after Kabbalat Shabbat services in the Morg Shul. This was followed by dinner in the Rubin cafeteria where Mr. Schneier greeted the group and Joel Yaffa, JSSSC President, delivered a D’var Torah to an appreciative audience. After a late Oneg Shabbat, the young women were escorted back to their apartments by highly spirited young men who quietly sang their way through the Valley of Fear and into the hearts of Washington Heights’ Jewish residents.

Weekly Shiur

Shabbat morning services were followed by Kiddush and the weekly Torah reading shiur was given by Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva at YUHS. The afternoon meal featured SCWSC President Betsy Mondshein who expressed her thanks to Shabbaton workers and a D’var Torah by incoming YCSC Secretary-Treasurer Heshie Schertz. Following the meal, students were invited to a stimulating forum entitled “Jewish Communal Responsibilities in the 1980’s” in the Rubin Shul where Yitz Wise of Aliyah and Outreach programs and Yitzchak Wagschul of Chabad addressed the attentive and, at times, over-enthusiastic audience.

At approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, the students were given free time to rest or take a walk through the sunny and beautifully scenic Fort Tryon Park. Many took the opportunity to visit an ill fellow student at a nearby hospital. At 4:30, refreshments were served in the Morg Lounge and at 6:00 graduating senior Simon Grunbaum conducted a Pirke Avot class.

Following afternoon services, the third Shabbat meal was served and Rabbi Dr. David Ebner delivered a thought-provoking D’var Torah. After Havdalah, preparations began to convert the YU gym into Washington Heights’ finest rollerskating rink with music, flashing lights, rented skates and enough bagels to last till Shavuot. Buses taking the girls back to Stern College finally left about 1:30 AM Lag Ba’omer morning.

In general, the 1980 YCSC-SCWSC Intercollegiate Shabbaton was an enjoyable and rousing success. Much of the credit goes to the outstanding planning of Shabbaton Chairpersons Barry Tokayer and Marc Schneier at YC and Beth Hoch and Julie Beyer at SCW. Special recognition should also be given to Joel Yaffa, other Shabbaton workers and speakers, hospitable Washington Heights residents, the Yeshiva Tabernacle Choir, and Colonel Marmorstein.

It is hoped that more Shabbatons and similar functions will be held more often next year in Washington Heights. As one student said to me before leaving for home: “I had a fantastic time! When is the next Shabbaton?” Are you listening, Freedy?