Shabbat dinner at Hillel has been something I've looked forward to attending at the end of the week for the better part of the last four years. Being a senior, I thought I have seen the different cuisines that a Shabbat dinner could offer, from around the world themes (my particular favorite being Israeli themed) to breakfast for dinner. I was wrong. First Friday proved dinner could go to greater lengths. This finger-food filled event has innovated a Jewish tradition that has been around for centuries, while still maintaining the meaning of Shabbat.
The atmosphere of First Friday was probably one of the most memorable parts: it was held in the same room as every Shabbat dinner, but a change in lighting and decoration in a familiar room went a long way. The lights were dimmed and draped across the room. Attendees were greeted by high round standing tables (think: Bar Mitzvah cocktail hour), new and old friends and a schmooze-friendly environment. Lastly, and most importantly, the hors d’ouerves served were delicious thanks to Hillel chef Caila. Among the appetizer-style finger foods were mini knishes, falafel, pizza pockets, and spinach pies — truly something for everyone.
The other part of First Friday that I really enjoyed is the early timing. Dinner falls before services, which makes it more possible to celebrate Shabbat and then attend to other social obligations. Though I did not go to the services after the 5:30 dinner, the combined Reform and Conservative service is a nice way of getting all students together. I am excited to see First Friday enter the Shabbat rotation at UD Hillel and look forward to seeing how it grows in this semester alone!