23 October 2005
Cornell for a Shabbas
With Katrina's destruction, my sister (and another student, Gregg Starr - okay, there were many more other students, but for fairly-involved Jewish students, it was these two) was displaced and ended up at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY. So, with her relative proximity, I made the five+ hour bus trip up to Ithaca this weekend. Ithaca is a nice-looking college town, though it had started raining and getting cold, preceding the much-famed really cold winters.... However, the leaves had just begun changing colors, which was nice.
Our shabbas started out at the Chabad House, which was a good-sized house, where we davened קבלת שבת (the acceptance of shabbat 'service') and מעריב (the evening service), and then went into the sukkah for dinner. It had begun to get cold, and then proceded to get even colder, which was not comfy. Nevertheless, the Chabad rabbi was hospitable, attracting a fairly sizeable crowd, requiring the tables to be split up in order to allow for more people to sit.
Following dinner, we made it for the end of the Oneg Shabbas at the Center for Jewish Living (CJL), a house for Jewish students, which is kind of like a Jewish frat-sort-of-thing. It used to be for a few decades a Young Israel house, until about six years ago, when they switched over to being called CJL. It's a really cool place, which I wish I had had. In fact, I would suppose many an undergrad would appreciate such a house. The oneg was a sociable affair, with many undergrads about - it was neat. But, alas, I was tired and retired to bed at 11, having not slept the night before (though having got some sleep on the busride).
The following morning, we davened at a Hillel-reserved room in Anabel Taylor Hall, where the Hillel offices are located. We then had lunch at the Kosher Dining Hall (KDH), which was located right next to the CJL (see picture at left). It was some amazing food! I surely had my good fill of food, that's for sure. Afterwards, I went back to nap.
I woke up for מנחה (afternoon service), davened, then went back to the KDH for the third meal, then back to the shul in the same building as in the KDH (and also has the beis medrash), where we had davened minha, we now also davened מעריב (evening service) and had havdalah.
Afterwards, we hung around, watching three (then later a fourth) episode of Firefly, on a student's computer (thanks, Ilan), then also watching [movie #3 of my break,] Return of the Pink Panther on VHS. Then, went to sleep after a fourth episode of "Firefly" in the CJL.
What was interesting is that the Internet went down in the CJL over shabbas, so after shabbas, people were not glued to it, which was weird!
Sunday morning consisted of davening at the little shul in the KDH, followed with packing, a brief walk around the nice, but wet, campus, then a yummy brunch at the KDH before heading back to the city.
In sum, Cornell U. is a nice place to be an observant Jew, but it's kind of cold.
(The bottom fuzzy picture is of Rabbi Aaron Levy and me. Rabbi Levy is among YCT's first graduating class and is a campus rabbi there.) To see more pictures of my trip....
Posted by Drew Kaplan