By: Jonathan Levin  | 

Residence Life Opens ‘Living Room,’ a Redesigned Lounge for Shabbat

The “Living Room,” a redesigned lounge in Morgenstern Residence Hall meant for use by students on Shabbat and Motzei Shabbat, was opened on Jan. 20, the first Shabbat of the Spring 2023 semester.

The Lucile and Sidney Burdick Lounge, located in the basement of Morgenstern Residence Hall, was renovated by the Office of University Housing and Residence Life over intersession, redesigned and stocked with games and books. 

“We opened a newly renovated ‘Living Room’ in the Burdick Lounge on the basement level of Morgenstern Hall,” Office of University Housing and Residence Life Director Avi Feder told The Commentator. “The existing lounge has been updated with new furniture, carpeting, and lighting, and stocked with books and games to create an inviting space for our residents to spend time on Shabbat.”

The idea to redesign the lounge, which was mostly unused, came from a group of resident advisors last semester, with the aim of making Shabbat at Wilf Campus more welcoming for students.

“We also have been continuously focusing on improving the experience of Shabbat on campus,” said Feder, “so the addition of a ‘living room’ space for use on Shabbat and Motzei Shabbat felt like a great way to make the Wilf Campus a more comfortable environment for students who call YU home.”

The renovations, funded by the Office of University Housing and Residence Life and designed with student input, were conducted with head RA Eitan Maron (YC ‘23) overseeing efforts.

In the lounge, the Office of University Housing and Residence Life replaced an old pool table with a new foosball table, added velvet and net chairs, three carpets, light fixtures, strip lights, board games, books, newspapers and a Nintendo Switch with two multiplayer games for use on Motzei Shabbat. The room, which is locked during the week, is open Friday night until midnight Sunday, and also hosts an RA oneg Shabbos after the Friday night meal.

The lounge was originally dedicated by Theresa Felson in 1965 in memory of her son-in-law and daughter, who perished in a 1963 plane crash in Lima, Peru.

Jean Burdick, Lucile and Sidney’s niece, who previously donated artwork in their memory, told The Commentator that she was pleased with the renovations.

“I think the updated lounge is very appealing and will be a good resource for students to be used on Shabbat,” said Burdick. “I am so glad that Yeshiva continues to have the space used for students to enhance their experience at your university.”

Some students on campus, including Ben Bruder (YC ‘24), told The Commentator that they thought that a dedicated Shabbat game room was good for students.

“It's nice to have an actual Shabbos game room on campus,” said Bruder, “besides for just a few board games in the lobbies and the Muss ping-pong table, which always seems to be missing things.”

The “Living Room” is part of increased Shabbat programming from The Office of University Housing and Residence Life aimed at improving the Shabbat experience on campus. To this end, the department is also introducing a “Heights Tour,” where RA’s will give a “guided walk” to students in the neighborhood adjacent to Wilf Campus.

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Photo Caption: The Lucile and Sidney Burdick Lounge, first dedicated in 1965, was renovated and turned into a special Shabbat game lounge.

Photo Credit: Eitan Maron / Office of Residence Life