I spent this past Shabbos with five other Jewish slugs at the Chabad House at Stanford
, guests of Rabbi Dov and Rebbetzin Rachel Greenberg. It was a wonderful Shabbat; we met new people, were treated to some holy, holy vorts
by Rabbi Greenberg, we had our fill of the Rebbetzin's Shabbos cuisine (I heard the Trifle was to-die-for), and we explored the Stanford campus.
According to Chabad of Stanford's website, Rabbi Greenberg "is a sought after communicator of Jewish thought and spirituality, who has lectured throughout the United States, Israel, Europe." Usually R' Greenberg gets paid to lecture... Imagine, we got him
to host us for Shabbat, feed us, and give us a lecture all for free! Saturday afternoon, we requested a talk on "The Struggle for Holiness in a Secular Age." The talk actually covered most of Jewish life and we all walked away seeing things a little more clearly.
The vibes at Stanford were much different than the vibes here, at UCSC. The students seemed less talkative and a little more subdued, and when they did talk, it was pretty much only about lofty, intellectual things, like philosophy and architecture... bleh. Come on, guys! Drink a beer or something! Let your hair down! Jay kay. No, but it was definitely different.
The campus was beautiful, but in a much different way than UCSC. There were lots of arches and a couple fountains. It had a much more collegiate atmosphere. They even had a big American flag in the middle of campus, and a church. You would think that everyone there is, like, a genius or something. But I asked one guy what his SAT score was, and he said it was in the 1400's... meh. Not bad, not bad, but I would have expected more from a Stanford student (jay kay, if you actually ever read this).
But speaking of Shabbos at a Chabad House, I personally have been hosted by Chabad families all over the world, from France, to Israel, to New York, to San Diego. And that brings me to an important point as summer break approaches and many of you sluggies head out all over the world: Wherever you go, there will most likely be a Chabad House there to welcome you in when you need a hot meal, a roof over your head, or just some Jewish love.
Most of us grew up with a more secularized, Westernized version of Judaism, where Jewish peoplehood was something vague that we read a lot about in books, but it didn't materialize in our day-to-day lives. Sure, we could donate money to some starving family somewhere in the world, we could show up to synagogue a couple times a year for the Chanuka carnival and Yom Kippur, we loved Seinfeld. But what's the whole "peoplehood" thing?
Tangible peoplehood still exists, very much so; we just didn't know it. It's the type where you can show up to a complete stranger's house and within five minutes they invite you in to spend the weekend just because you're Jewish, and you're family. It can be hard to understand at first, coming from a background like mine for instance, where people barely said "boo" to each other (much less "Shabbat Shalom") at the synagogue. But it's very real, and accessible to all of you.
This Friday night Hillel and Chabad will be having a joint Shabbat celebration--stay posted.
Thank you again to the Greenbergs for hosting us. Also, to see the rest of the pictures, click here