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A UD Hillel Shabbat Experience: It’s not just about the meal

October was National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many women are affected by this terrible disease and this month aims to help prevent, educate and support many. Jewish organizations play a particularly important role in participating during this month, especially because of Ashkenazi women’s higher susceptibility to breast cancer.

That’s why the University of Delaware Hillel teams up with UD’s Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) chapter annually to host Pink Shabbat. The two organizations hope to bring awareness to Sharsheret, one of the philanthropic organizations supported nationally by AEPhi. The founder of Sharsheret, Rochelle Shoretz, is a breast cancer survivor, member of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, and former law clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Since it’s inception fifteen years ago, Sharsheret has responded to over 45,000 inquiries, providing constant, remarkable support to young women battling breast cancer and their families. Shoretz believes in the importance of young women meeting and talking with survivors. Among the crowd at UD Hillel’s Pink Shabbat on November 4th stood Stephanie Kaplan, who shared her story about the preventative measures she underwent after finding out she was at greater risk for breast cancer.

According to Michelle Wasserman, Vice President of Philanthropy for UD’s AEPhi chapter, “Pink Shabbat is a special event each year for me because I get to share our chapter's philanthropy and cause with the University of Delaware Jewish community”. Pink Shabbat is hosted in conjunction with Alpha Epsilon Phi’s Pink Week, which raises money for Sharsheret through profit-shares and an on-campus fashion show called Ribbons on the Runway. AEPhi sisters look forward to the event every year not just for the great food and company, but as a way to fully understand the meaning of their philanthropy. Though UD Hillel hosts Shabbat dinners week after week, Pink Shabbat holds a special significance. Wasserman said, “Knowing more about Sharsheret is so important because breast cancer has and will affect so many people in my life and Sharsheret will always be an incredible resource.”

UD Hillel’s Shabbat experiences provide students with a chance to take away powerful insights during their Friday night meal. UD Hillel welcomes the opportunity to partner with different campus, local and national organizations for their Shabbats. On Oct. 14, Hillel had the opportunity to partner with the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases to provide students with information and opportunities for internships and volunteering. Among the many other Shabbat partnerships, UD Hillel looks forward to hosting Pride Shabbat in the spring with the LGBTQ+ community.

Throughout the month of November, Hillel will be raising money to fund our spring semester Shabbats. Help us meet our goal of $12,500 by Giving Tuesday on November 29th to #LightUpHillel. To learn more visit our website at

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