UCSB’s Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and Chabad Student Center will host “Shabbat 360” this Friday, bringing local Jewish community members and friends together to celebrate the traditional weekly day of rest.
Shabbat marks the seventh holy day of the Jewish week — a day of “rest” traditionally lasting from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday — and is an important ritual observance in Judaism. The event ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and aims to inspire Jewish pride and community participation.
According to Rochel Loschak, wife of Chabad Rabbi Mendel Loschak, Shabbat is a holy day emphasizing the bonds between loved ones.
“It is a time where family and friends enjoy each other’s company and inspire each other with words of inspiration to get through the next week,” Loschak said.
Loschak said the holy day parallels the seventh day God used to rest in the biblical story of Creation. Jews are encouraged to avoid certain activities prohibited on Shabbat including certain creative pursuits and labor.
Rabbi Mendel Loschak said the weekly observance helps people rejuvenate from the stresses of daily life.
“[It is] a day where you can step back from the hustle-bustle,” Rabbi Mendel said. “It is a once a week recharging where you get to rest and spend some time away from the pressure throughout the week.”
Although Shabbat is traditionally a Jewish festivity, Rabbi Loschak said all religious denominations and community members are welcome to join. “The point that we are trying to get across is that no matter where someone is on the spectrum of their Jewish activity, this event is something for everyone, and no matter where you are on that spectrum you are going to feel comfortable.”
The event will feature traditional Jewish foods like Matzo ball soup, a type of braided bread called Challah and a dessert buffet.
Fourth-year biology major Sheila Ganjian, who helped arrange Shabbat 360, said the celebration seeks to create a new annual tradition within community.
“We are planning that it become the biggest Shabbat UCSB has ever seen,” Ganjian said. “We are very excited.”
Michael Rosen, a first-year biology major and AEPi member, said the night focuses more on Jewish heritage and culture than religion.
“We are not trying to preach, just show people what Shabbat and AEPi are about and share that culture with everyone,” Rosen said.
Loschak said the event seeks to capture the celebratory spirit that tends to accompany Isla Vista’s typical weekend festivities.
“What is special about the Shabbat in Isla Vista is that there is just so much going on Friday night, and students come and take part and it is safe and delicious and enjoyable and a proud Jewish experience,” Loschak said. “We are hoping that more students will get to experience that.”
Services for Shabbat 360 begin at 6 p.m. at Hillel on 781 Embarcadero Del Mar and are followed by a dinner at the Chabad, located on 779 Camino Pescadero, at 7 p.m.
Event co-sponsors include Associated Students, the MultiCultural Center, Isla Vista Community Relations Committee, Hillel, Jewish Awareness Movement and UCSB Residence Halls.