By: Ezra Baron  | 

Yeshiva University to Run ‘In the Heights’ Shabbaton this Week

Yeshiva University will host its first-ever “In the Heights” Shabbaton on Dec. 2–3. The Shabbaton will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the Jewish community in Washington Heights by allowing students to interact with the larger Washington Heights Jewish community.

Rabbi Herschel Hartz, program administrator of Undergraduate Torah Studies (UTS), and Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, dean of UTS, began planning this Shabbaton in late October to ensure the availability of all the parties involved.

The Shabbaton will begin with students attending different local homes for Friday night dinner, followed by a tisch with the Dombrover Rebbe, who will speak about his father, Rabbi Naftoli Tzvi Rubin, who used to run a Shtiebel in Washington Heights. For Shabbat lunch, students will head to K’hal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ), popularly known as Breuer’s, where they will be met by Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, a KAJ member and graduate of Rabbi Issac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS); Mr. Samson Bechofer, a grandson of Rabbi Joseph Breuer and a trustee at KAJ; and YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter. 

At KAJ, students will hear about the history and religious philosophy of Breuer’s. The Shabbaton will conclude with seudah shlishit at the Mount Sinai Jewish Center and a melave malka in YU.

The chance to do something local was very important to Hartz and Kalinsky. While sometimes going off campus or bringing in a special guest can be more exciting, Hartz realized that there is potential for unique opportunities in the Heights itself. 

 “We live and work and study in Washington Heights, a community that has a rich Jewish history,” said Hartz.

Furthermore, Hartz believes that students can gain from exposure to other types of Jews living around campus.

“We should be proud of our Yeshiva,” Hartz told The Commentator, “and be proud of our traditions but also be open to other ways of legitimate expression in Jewish life that expand our own religious lives.

“We want to think outside the box about what we can offer students,” Hartz explained, “we cannot settle for the same old, same old.”

This Shabbaton is just the latest development in YU and UTS’ efforts to create new Shabbat opportunities for students. Earlier this year, YU had a Shabbaton in Camp Romimu, the first school-wide Shabbaton in decades. 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Dec. 1 to reflect that the name of the Dombrover Rebbe’s father is Naftoli Tzvi. A previous version of the article incorrectly gave his name as Yissocher Berish, which is the name of the current rebbe.

For more stories like this, join us on WhatsApp.


Photo Caption: K’hal Adath Jeshurun

Photo Credit: The Commentator