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Herald Voice: Pink Shabbat 2012

Herald Voice: Pink Shabbat 2012

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From the Hearld Voice article, here.
 

 Pink Shabbat celebrated at Chabad UT

Published
• Thu, Jan 10, 2013
In an already colorful house of stained glass windows and Jewish vitality, the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center adopted a new hue for Nueces Friday night, Nov. 30. Celebrating the center’s third annual Pink Shabbat, more than 130 attendees packed the house. Many of these visitors aren’t Chabad’s typical Friday night crowd, as students came to celebrate Shabbat, meet Jewish friends, support breast cancer awareness and reconnect with their spirituality, a host of motives attracted participants. Chabad co-directors Ariela and Rabbi Zev Johnson even welcomed several guests from Dallas to the event, including Pink Shabbat sponsor and frequent Chabad supporter Lizzy Greif and her mother Ann Rosenberg.

“I have such respect for the Johnsons and all they do for Jewish life at The University of Texas, [acting as] an open nonjudgmental place for any Jewish UT student to attend,” Greif said. “Jewish life on any level is so important to me and I want to make sure there is a wonderful Jewish option there.”

Knowing Greif’s commitment to “seeing Judaism flourish throughout all of Texas,” as Rabbi Johnson said, Ariela first approached Greif about sponsoring the event three years ago. Greif felt the significance spanned two-fold, as the event both raised awareness on the battle against cancer and promoted hospitality, a value her sister excelled at embodying. 

“[Pink Shabbat] gives me the opportunity to honor my sister, Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer (of blessed memory), by bringing young adults together for a Shabbat meal and bringing breast cancer awareness to young adults,” Greif said. “Just using the term ‘Pink Shabbat’ raises questions and gives an opportunity to talk about and educate people about breast cancer.”

Beyond general education, the event has touched many personal strings as well.

“It’s so important to get the message out to people,” Rabbi Zev said. “More and more students come up to me and thank me for doing this, confiding privately that a mother or family member had recently [battled breast cancer].”

Among these students, one of Greif’s kin now shares in the annual event. Greif and Pulitzer’s niece, Noa Waks, attends UT as a natural sciences sophomore and Chabad’s volunteer coordinator. She participated in Pink Shabbat both of the past two years. 
“As a freshman, [Pink Shabbat] was the first time I saw Chabad transcend from a place to have a Shabbas meal to an environment I could truly see myself grow in,” Waks said. “[This year,] I spoke about the importance of maintaining a strong connection with the Jewish community and the benefits it provides, especially in times of struggle. Chabad allows us to start forming new relationship within a Jewish environment.”

But the benefits of this new Jewish environment don’t exist in exclusion of relationships treasured at home. As Rabbi Zev’s mother and sister, Linda and Tanya, hailed from Dallas, company of three generations of the Rosenberg family – Ann, Lizzy and Noa – also made the night that much more special. 

“It made things a lot more real,” Rabbi Johnson said. “To have a sister and mother and a niece involved in an event in memory of a very special lady only deepens one’s feelings and awareness to fighting breast cancer. It also strengthened and highlighted the unique bond of family and friendship in the Jewish community, throughout Texas and beyond.”

As Waks felt the support of her friends and family unite, she said the event strengthened her relationship with Chabad. “It held tremendous significance for me to see my Jewish peers come together to show solidarity for breast cancer awareness,” Waks said. “And it meant the world to see my grandmother and aunt witness my growing Jewish life on campus.”

Greif agreed of the event’s impact. “It was amazing – to see standing room only full of students sharing a Shabbat experience is so meaningful to me,” she said. “I know there is no better way to honor my sister and having my mother with me was even more special. She had the opportunity to hear Noa, her granddaughter, speak so beautifully about everything a Jewish community can be and was for our family during Margot’s illness. It was so special.”

For more highlights of this event, see Noa’s blog post atJewishLonghorns.com/UTBlog.

 

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