Shabbat 360 brought a global atmosphere to Chabad of Georgia Tech and Georgia State University April 5, uniting diverse students, staff and faculty members for a night of outdoor fun.
Now in its fourth year, the event — formerly Shabbat 250 — attracted increased numbers each year. With 300 in attendance in 2018, this year 360 felt like a fitting goal as a multiple of chai, said Shifra Sharfstein, co-director of Chabad at Downtown Universities.
The theme was around the world (360 degrees) and began with a sushi social featuring pre-event snacks, games, activities and drinks, including the signature Jewdriver. Jewish music was performed by students and a photographer gave those in attendance the red-carpet treatment.
Sharfstein, who runs the Chabad with her husband, Rabbi Shlomo Sharfstein, said that the evening attracts more attendees each year than any other program.
“We invite all the faculty, but it’s mostly undergraduates and graduate students and a few alumni who love the event and can’t help but want to come back,” she said. “The only thing that we all have in common is that we’re Jewish. We come from such diverse backgrounds and this year we wanted to celebrate that.”
Shifra also explained the importance of uniting the Georgia State and Georgia Tech communities in one place.
“It gets everyone excited to come together, and the common phrase we hear people say is, ‘I didn’t know you were Jewish,’ to people they know from their classes,” she said. “The goal really is for everyone to feel proud of who they are and that they are a part of this community.”
Following the sushi social kickoff at 6:30 p.m., everyone headed into a massive tent, where there was seating for all and the classic Shabbat traditions were the name of the game, with a candlelighting, challah and a Shabbat meal.