By Nolan Cleary
Purchase College students gathered on Friday for a Pink Shabbat event in the Hillel Lounge, located in the basement of Campus Center North. The event was hosted by the Hillel Club.
Purchase's Pink Shabbat was held just four days before Valentine's Day, however the theme intention of the event actually had less to do with the holiday and more to do with raising breast cancer awareness.
Rachel Dashow, a sophomore at Purchase College and the Treasurer of the Hillel Club, said the significance of pink was “to represent Sharsheret, a Jewish breast cancer organization, since 1 in 40 biologically Jewish women have the gene for breast cancer.” Pink decorations and food could be seen at the event.
A Shabbat is a common weekly Jewish tradition celebrated, to commemorate the day God rested after creating the Earth, according to the Talmud. The word "Shabbat" is Hebrew for "He [God] rested”. The events usually feature a prayer service, accompanied by bread, grape juice and other foods. According to Dashow, while Shabbat prayer services are traditionally in Hebrew, some Hillel prayer services at Purchase are in spoken English in an attempt to be more inclusive.
The event kicked off with a prayer service. Following this, participants were served free pizza and cupcakes with pink frosting, in commemoration of the event. Attendees were also encouraged to wear pink.
Alyssa Millman, a sophomore psychology student said she attended the event in hopes of meeting other like minded Jewish students on campus. "I wanted to meet new people because there’s something really fun about meeting people who share the same religion, and I feel like there aren’t a lot of Jewish students here and I do feel like I met new people," Millman said.
Millman said the event was a positive way to experience and observe Jewish traditions, regardless of religion or beliefs. "You don’t have to be super religious to come here. You can just come and enjoy other people's traditions and learn," Millman said.
Sonja Boyko, a visual arts student, is a frequent Hillel club attendee. She said she attended the event because she wanted to pray with other students. “I came to this event to say some prayers and be a part of a group to say prayers because I don’t live with anyone else who is Jewish, so there’s no one else that I live with that understands prayers like I do." Boyko said. "It’s just a nice place to go to if you want to connect with your religion or culture."
Dashow said she hopes that students who attend the event can connect to and learn about Judaism regardless if they are Jewish or not. "If you’re Jewish, you can find a sense of a strong Jewish community, and if you aren’t Jewish, you can learn about Judaism or learn that Judaism is very welcoming," Dashow said.
Purchase College's Hillel Club hosts Shabbat events twice a month, their next event themed around the HBO series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm." This event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18.