Chabad at Texas A&M University

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Chabad at Texas A&M University, also known as the Rohr Jewish Student and Community Center, is a Jewish community center at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It serves as a synagogue, education, and social center for Jewish students, staff, and faculty at Texas A&M University, Blinn College and the RELLIS campus, as well as for residents of the cities of College Station and Bryan, Texas in Brazos County.

Chabad at Texas A&M University

History

Newly Renovated Interior of Chabad at Texas A&M University

In June of 2007, Rabbi Yossi and Manya Lazaroff founded the Chabad at Texas A&M University.[1] Eight students attended the first Shabbat dinner hosted by the Lazaroffs in their home. [1] From the center's founding until October 2007, Rabbi Yossi and Manya Lazaroff's private home served as the Chabad center.[2]

In October 2007, they permanently acquired a 4,000 square foot space for the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center at Texas A&M University. [1]

On October 19, 2010, Chabad at Texas A&M University welcomed its first Torah Scroll, after having used a Torah on loan since its founding. The occasion was marked by a celebration, including dancing with the new Torah, a procession around the neighborhood with local members of Sigma Alpha Mu holding the Chuppah poles, and speeches from Rabbi Lazaroff and distinguished guests. The Parochet was designed and donated by the mother of a student. The new Torah was installed in a Torah Ark designed after the Ark at the Nariman House Chabad Center in Mumbai, which was dedicated to the memories of Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, Chabad emissaries murdered in the 2008 Mumbai Attacks.[3]

On May 6, 2012, Chabad at Texas A&M celebrated its five year anniversary at the Memorial Student Center[4] The occasion saw the first kosher banquet served and prepared on campus, which included the koshering of the kitchens at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.[4]

In 2019, Chabad at Texas A&M University opened the Shabbos House Hospitality Center for students to be able to spend Shabbat at the center, for temporary accommodation between rental contracts, or in times of personal crisis.[5] The Shabbos House has two rooms and a guest-suite that includes a private bathroom and shower.[5]

Education

Sinai scholars

Sinai Scholar Graduates of Chabad at Texas A&M University in December of 2017

Chabad at Texas A&M University participates in the international Jewish education program Sinai Scholars Society, an organization that combines the study of traditional Jewish texts, social programming, and networking on college campuses.[6][7] The center has offered multiple classes on a range of topics through the program, which includes text-based studies and discussions.[7]In addition to classes, participants also take field trips to Jewish sites, such as to a Mikvah, to get first-hand experience with Jewish practices.[8]

In addition to the normal courses, the center also provides Sinai Scholars+ classes to allow alumni of the program to continue their education in more advanced classes that still follow the structure of integrated learning and experiential education.[7] The six-week long classes alternate each semester, and is specficially designed for graduates of the initial program.[9] In 2015, a student from Texas A&M University reached the finals of the Sinai Scholars Society Academic Symposium, a competitive event held by the Sinai Scholars Society where students present their original research to a panel of Jewish academics.[10]

Programs

Shabbat and Jewish holidays

Break-the-Fast Event at Chabad at Texas A&M University after Yom Kippur in 2019

Chabad at Texas A&M University provides religious services on Shabbat as well as all of the Jewish Holidays. The center was the first Jewish organization to provide both services and meals for Friday night and Saturday for students at Texas A&M University.[11] In May 2008, the center hosted their first graduation Shabbat.[12]At that Shabbat, they presented their first "Chabadnik of the Week" award, given to students in recognition of positive contributions to the community, a tradition which they continue to this day.[12] As of 2018, the center regularly hosts at least 100 students for services and dinner on Friday nights.[2]

Each year, for the holiday of Sukkot, the center builds a Sukkah both on campus and on the center premises, hosting events as well as allowing students to wave the Lulav and Etrog as part of the holiday.[13]

For the holiday of Purim, the center hosts Megillah readings, as well as distributing Mishloach Manot to the larger community.[14]

On Passover, the center hosts Seders for students and community members.[15] In addition to hosting Seders, the center also provides a Kosher-for-Passover meal plan for students to take meals to-go.[15]

For Hanukkah, the center hosts an annual Menorah lighting ceremony on campus, in addition to giving out menorahs for students to take home and light for themselves.[16][17]

Holocaust education

On February 19, 2019, Chabad at Texas A&M hosted Holocaust survivor Jacob Eisenbach to speak about his experiences during the Nazi occupation of Poland.[18] The event was attended by thousands of people.[18] On March 24, 2020, the center will host Max Glauben, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Majdanek Concentration Camp in conjunction with the local chapters of Alpha Epsilon Pi and Alpha Epsilon Phi, the Department of International Studies at Texas A&M University, and the Religious Studies Department of Texas A&M University.[19]

Israel

Chabad at Texas A&M University Birthright Trip to Israel in 2016

Chabad at Texas A&M University organizes summer and winter trips to Israel for Jewish students as part of the Birthright Israel program.[20]

On September 15, 2008, Chabad at Texas A&M University hosted the Israeli rock band Yood in cooperation with Texas A&M Hillel, Sigma Alpha Mu, Aggie Jewish Women, and Aggies United for Israel.[21] Over 200 students attended the Jewish unity themed event.[21]

Breast cancer awareness

Since its founding, Chabad at Texas A&M University has promoted awareness of breast cancer. The center hosted its first "Pink Shabbat" to raise awareness in October of 2008, where students shared their experiences with breast cancer and information about Jewish organisations that provide services to support people with breast cancer.[22]

Mental health programming

Mental Health First Aid Training at Chabad at Texas A&M University in October of 2019

In addition to spiritual well-being, Chabad at Texas A&M University also focuses on the mental and emotional wellness of students at Texas A&M University.[2][23] The center provides matzo ball soup to sick students, final exam care packages, as well as hosting midnight breakfasts for students during exam periods.[23] Rabbi Yossi and Manya Lazaroff also work with local mental health professionals to refer students that are suffering from mental health problems.[23] Chabad at Texas A&M University also hosts Mental Health First Aid Training seminars to educate students about mental health issues and be prepared to help other students that might suffer from mental health problems.[24]

Chabad at Texas A&M University also participates in ShabbaTTogether, an international organization that seeks to end the stigma surrounding those that face mental health issues. Rabbi Yossi and Manya Lazaroff are also chairs on the ShabbaTTogether Committee.[25][26]

In February 2019, Chabad at Texas A&M University launched its ReJoyVenation 360 Initiative, a multifaceted program that includes workshops, dinners, and discussions to educate students about mental health and end the stigma surrounding those that suffer from mental illness.[27]The program aims to both raise awareness about those that suffer from mental health and create an environment where students can be open about their mental health problems.[27]The program also trains students how to manage stress and strive for mental wellness.[23]

Work with other campus organzations

Chartering of the Beta Xi chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi at Chabad at Texas A&M University

Chabad at Texas A&M University frequently partners with Jewish Greek Life organizations on campus. In January, 2008, the center hosted an Israeli Shabbat with the local chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu.[20] The local Sigma Alpha Mu chapter also partners with Chabad at Texas A&M University to put on kosher tailgates at Texas A&M Aggies football games on Thanksgiving.[28]

In 2016, Alpha Epsilon Phi chartered a colony at Texas A&M University, and the ceremony was held at the Chabad at Texas A&M University.[29] Manya Lazaroff was inducted into the sorority in recognition of her work for the organization, and the center continues to partner with the chapter at Texas A&M University for events.[29]

Chabad of Texas A&M University also works with Texas A&M Hillel to host "Aggie Jewish Open House," a Shabbat program designed to welcome prospective Jewish students and introduce them to Jewish organizations on campus.[30] During the Open House, both organizations host co-current Friday night services, a community Saturday service and lunch at Chabad at Texas A&M Univeristy, and ending with a Havdallah ceremony at Texas A&M Hillel.[30] Panels from different Jewish organizations answer questions from prospective students about Jewish life and Jewish Greek Life organizations at Texas A&M Univeristy.[30][31] Chabad at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Hillel also held Gefilte Fish Camp, an event that introduces new Jewish students to each other through activities and gather information about life at Texas A&M University.[32]

Chabad Jewish Student Group is the registered student organization associated with Chabad at Texas A&M University.[33]

Chabad at Texas A&M is a branch of the larger Chabad on Campus organization, which organizes an annual intercollegiate gathering that students from Texas A&M University regularly attend.[34] The Chabad on Campus event, called a Shabbaton, hosts over a thousand students with lectures, meals, and educational workshops.[35] The center also partners with other Chabad on Campus organizations from other colleges for a regional Shabbaton held in College Station.[36]

Staff

Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, Director and Rabbi of Chabad at Texas A&M University
Manya Lazaroff, Co-Director and Programs Director/Sinai Scholars Program Director/Chabad Hebrew School

Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff serves as the Executive Director and Rabbi at Chabad at Texas A&M University.[37] A native Texan, Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff is the son of Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff.[37] In addition to his activities at Chabad at Texas A&M University, Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff is a fellow with Birthright Israel, and also leads Onward Israellink internship programs for students.[38] In 2010, Rabbi Lazaroff joined with other Chabad emissaries from Texas to light a Hanukkah menorah with then Governor Rick Perry.[39] Rabbi Lazaroff presented Governor Perry, a graduate of Texas A&M University, with a custom designed Chabad at Texas A&M University belt buckle.[39]

Manya Lazaroff, a Brooklyn native, serves as the Program Director for Chabad at Texas A&M University, the Educator of the local affiliate of Sinai Scholars, and the Director of the Chabad Hebrew School.[37][40][41]Manya Lazaroff also serves on the staff for Snorkel & Study, a winter-break program for female Jewish college students that provides Jewish education, enrichment, and support.[42][43] She is also a member of the Steering Committee and the Ashreinu Society Senior Manager for Chabad on Campus.[44] In December 2019, Manya Lazaroff was presented with $500 as part of the Be Remarkable Campaign by KBTX-TV and Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers on behalf of her hard work supporting the Jewish community at Texas A&M University and Bryan/College Station.[45]

In addition to Rabbi Yossi and Manya Lazaroff, Chabad at Texas A&M University the Zinbarg Internship Program, a program designed to allow students at Texas A&M University to build professional skills and pursue their personal interests through volunteer work at the center.[37] Interns fill leadership roles in Chabad at Texas A&M University educational, spiritual, and mental health programs, as well as provide administrative and marketing assistance.[37]

See also

References

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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Tinsley, Ben (May 7, 2015). "On Campus: Chabad provides peaceful place at A&M". http://tjpnews.com/9603/. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  3. "Jewish Aggies Welcome Torah At Texas A&M Chabad Center". October 19, 2010. http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2029907/Jewish-Aggies-Welcome-Torah-At-Texas-A-M-Chabad-Center.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Chabad Celebrates Five Years In Aggieland". May 31, 2012. http://jhvonline.com/chabad-celebrates-five-years-in-aggieland-p13134-128.htm. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Shabbos House". https://www.jewishaggies.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/4647708/jewish/Shabbos-House.htm. Retrieved 13 February 2020. 
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  8. "Sinai Scholars students at Texas A&M University tour a mikvah.". 17 November 2014. http://www3.lubavitch.com/gallery/2031483/Sinai-Scholars-students-at-Texas-A-M-University-tour-a-mikvah.html. Retrieved 13 February 2020. 
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  10. Margolin, Dovid (20 May 2015). "Sinai Scholarship: Top Students, Academics Explore Torah’s Depths at National Forum". https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/2955336/jewish/Sinai-Scholarship-Top-Students-Academics-Explore-Torahs-Depths-at-National-Forum.htm. Retrieved 13 February 2020. 
  11. Runyan, Joshua (December 4, 2007). "Aggies Embrace New Jewish Student Center Deep in the Heart of Texas". https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/606281/jewish/Lone-Star-Students.htm. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Graduate Shabbat At Texas A&M Chabad". May 15, 2008. http://jhvonline.com/graduate-shabbat-at-texas-am-chabad-p4661-128.htm. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  13. Streeter, Jennifer (November 1, 2018). "Aggie Chabad Makes A ‘Home Away From Home’ For Students". http://jhvonline.com/aggie-chabad-makes-a-home-away-from-home-for-students-p25112-281.htm. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  14. "At Aggie Chabad House, It’s All About Family". April 9, 2009. http://jhvonline.com/at-aggie-chabad-house-its-all-about-family-p6575.htm. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Margolin, Levi (March 18, 2010). "Aggieland Passover Dining At Chabad". http://jhvonline.com/aggieland-passover-dining-at-chabad-p8619-128.htm. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  16. Peshek, Sam (December 8, 2015). "Menorah lighting united Jewish community on Texas A&M campus". https://www.theeagle.com/news/a_m/menorah-lighting-united-jewish-community-on-texas-a-m-campus/article_1f1b4390-9d72-11e5-bac9-67691873c57a.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  17. Katz, Chelsea (December 4, 2018). "Annual giant menorah lighting at Texas A&M marks start of Hanukkah holiday". https://www.theeagle.com/news/local/annual-giant-menorah-lighting-at-texas-a-m-marks-start/article_7b33081f-66a1-5c00-ac2a-e8b3f50d1791.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Clark, Caitlin (February 19, 2019). "96-year-old Holocaust survivor shares his experiences at event presented by Chabad at Texas A&M". https://www.theeagle.com/news/year-old-holocaust-survivor-shares-his-experiences-at-event-presented/article_0fd9606a-340f-11e9-8822-5f0484cce865.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  19. "Mr. Max Glauben - Holocaust Survivor". https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mr-max-glauben-holocaust-survivor-tickets-88075709819. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
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  21. 21.0 21.1 "Jewish Aggies Bring Israeli Rock Band To A&M Campus". http://jhvonline.com/jewish-aggies-bring-israeli-rock-band-to-am-campus-p5402-128.htm. Retrieved 13 February 2020. 
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  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Laekin, Dvora (August 15, 2019). "Students And Stress On Campus: Chabad at Texas A&M". http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2105261/Students-And-Stress-On-Campus.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  24. Schwartz, Rochel (12 February 2020). "Global ShabbaTTogether Weekend Raises Inclusion Awareness". https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/4646411/jewish/Global-ShabbaTTogether-Weekend-Raises-Inclusion-Awareness.htm. Retrieved 13 February 2020. 
  25. Wiley, Kenny. "Texas A&M's Chabad Jewish Student Center to host mental health awareness initiative". https://www.theeagle.com/news/a_m/texas-a-m-s-chabad-jewish-student-center-to-host/article_c3c36b28-2b65-11e9-9747-fbe2e9e33f20.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
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  28. Staff Writer (December 3, 2014). "At Texas Tailgate Lots to Give Thanksgiving For". http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2031611/At-Texas-Tailgate-Lots-to-Give-Thanksgiving-For.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
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  33. "Chabad Jewish Student Group Public Profile". https://stuactonline.tamu.edu/app/organization/profile/public/id/1073. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
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  35. "Pegisha Regionals". https://chabadoncampus.org/pegisha/. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
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  38. "Birthright Fellows". https://www.birthrightisraelfellows.com/user/1259. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
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  40. "Texas A&M University". https://www.sinaischolars.com/index.html?task=location&lid=11118. Retrieved 12 February 2020. 
  41. "Chabad Hebrew School". https://www.jewishaggies.com/templates/section_cdo/aid/2665632/jewish/Hebrew-School.htm. Retrieved 12 February 2020. 
  42. "Meet Your Staff". https://snorkelandstudy.org/staff/. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  43. "Who's Behind Snorkel & Study". https://snorkelandstudy.org/about/. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  44. "About Chabad on Campus". https://chabadoncampus.org/about/. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 
  45. Surette, Rusty (December 9, 2019). "Be Remarkable: Local woman praised for her work at Jewish center for Aggies". https://www.kbtx.com/content/news/Be-Remarkable-Local-woman-praised-for-her-work-at-Jewish-center-for-Aggies-565990791.html. Retrieved 6 February 2020. 

External links