Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Mega Shabbat brings UCF Jewish community together as family


March 27, 2020

Women at each table were invited to light the Shabbat candles.

The smell of matzo ball soup and the sound of chattering voices traveled through the hallways of the UCF Student Union Friday night. Feb. 21, as the UCF community gathered to celebrate Judaism's day of rest, Shabbat.

Mega Shabbat was hosted by Chabad at UCF to experience Shabbat and to invite people of all backgrounds to experience the tradition as well.

"All of the UCF Jewish community comes together," said Rivkie Lipskier, co-director of Chabad at UCF. "Ninety-nine percent of those who attend are students and professors."

Rivkie Lipskier said this is the eighth year Mega Shabbat has been held at UCF, and 500 individuals attend the event each year. 

When the doors of the Pegasus Ballroom opened a few minutes past 6 p.m., attendees flooded into the room and took their seats. 

UCF Student Government Financial Allocations for Organizations Chair Natalia Correa-Ferro said this was the fourth time she's attended UCF's Mega Shabbat.

"I'm here to show support, and I'm also Jewish," Correa-Ferro said. "Everyone at UCF is family." 

Various speakers-including students, and professors, -spoke during the event. As is tradition during Shabbat, attendees were asked to stay off their cellphones for the remainder of the night. 

The Shabbat candle-lighting tradition was led by Rivkie Lipskier. Women at each table were invited to light Shabbat Candles. According to chabad.org, lighting these candles brings "peace and blessing."

Rabbi Chaim Lipskier led attendees in prayer, and the sound of attendees clapping and singing along with the rabbi "Shalom Aleichem" filled the room.

As the night wore on, attendees began to eat dinner, which included a delicious traditional Shabbat Dinner.

Candles flickered on each table in the dim room, and the sound of laughter and utensils hitting plates echoed throughout the room as Mega Shabbat went on into the night.

"This makes me feel closer to my family," Molly Lucia said. "My grandparents get really happy when I celebrate Shabbat."

Mega Shabbat was made possible by Student Government, other organizations and individual donors.

For more information about Chabad at UCF visit jewishucf.com


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