For the first time in two years, Chabad at Lehigh held their Shabbat 360 dinner Friday night at the Comfort Suites Bethlehem hotel after missing the dinner last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Shabbat 360 is an annual Shabbat dinner hosted by Chabad. It is their largest event of the year where they try to get over 360 people to attend, including current students, alumni and faculty.
Shabbat, beginning Friday night and ending Saturday night each week, is the Jewish day of rest. The day is typically celebrated through a family dinner and leisurely activities.
Chabad typically hosts weekly Shabbat dinners that can have up to 100 people in attendance.
Rabbi Zalman Greenberg and his wife, Yehudit (Dit) Greenberg, have been hosting Chabad 360 since they bought their Chabad house in 2013, Dit said.
According to Dit, the event originally started as Shabbat 100 and, over the years, has grown to become Shabbat 360. Two years ago, Shabbat 360 had almost 700 people in attendance.
“Shabbat 360 brings a sense of unity of Jewish pride and excitement to the Jewish community here at Lehigh,” Dit said.
She said Chabad at Lehigh has been preparing for this event for six months. Preparations included reserving the room in the Comfort Suites as well as finding a date they felt would work for most students’ schedules.
Shabbat 360 is mostly planned, set up and catered by students on Chabad at Lehigh’s executive board, such as board member Tim Hanna, ‘23.
Hanna said some board members stayed up late the Thursday night before Shabbat 360 cooking various foods and baking challah bread with Dit.
The menu served at the dinner included freshly baked challah, various dips, noodles, salad, pesto potatoes, brisket, sweet and sour chicken, green beans and sushi ordered from New York.
Besides the increased attendance and different location, Zalman said Chabad 360 is different from other Shabbats because of the energy in the room when there are hundreds of students, faculty, friends and alumni coming together for Shabbat.
This Shabbat 360 was especially exciting for some students because it was the first one since 2020.
“It’s been a couple years since we’ve done this,” Hanna said. “It was really fun and it was a really great time seeing so many people there. It’ll be really exciting to do it again.”
Typically, Chabad spreads word of most of their events by word of mouth. People go to Shabbat dinners at Chabad because their friends go and have a good time, Zalman said.
Shabbat 360 was no exception to this rule, as Zalman said they openly welcome everyone to their events, whether it is their first Shabbat experience or if they have been attending since their first year at Lehigh.
“Shabbat 360 gives students who have never been to Chabad or celebrated Shabbat an opportunity to see what it’s all about,” Dit said. “We’re really excited to be back doing this again.”
Attendees at Shabbat 360 had the opportunity to learn about Jewish traditions, sing songs and eat an assortment of homemade foods.
“I came here tonight to spend time with friends and celebrate my Jewish heritage…I also really like the food,” Alex Diefes, ‘25, said.
On April 15, Chabad at Lehigh will be hosting a Passover Seder and will be offering meals that are Kosher for Passover everyday throughout the holiday.