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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Chabad opens doors at Univ. of Central Florida

By Matthew Rosen
Rabbi Chaim Lipskier and his wife Rivkie seem to conquer the impossible week after week for Jewish college students around the University of Central Florida’s campus. Rivkie cooks on Fridays to host a fun-filled Shabbat evening at the Lipskier home. The rabbi welcomes visitors of all ages. He invites students using the online networking site facebook.com. He can frequently be seen introducing himself outside the student union, ignoring the brutal Florida heat. And he insists that guests bring their family members staying in Orlando from out of town. Shabbat means family togetherness, and the Lipskier family tries to foster that feeling. At the dinner tables, whether there are fifty students or a hundred, the Lipskiers’ goal is to make everyone feel accepted. After the meal, the rabbi invites every student to return to Chabad. He tells everyone to invite more friends the next time they come. Chabad does not stop at just one night of dinner: There are events almost every day during every week on the school calendar. On Tuesday nights, the Lipskiers have a kosher barbeque at their home with chicken, fries, hamburgers and hotdogs—food that would tame any hungry student’s appetite. On other days, they have Torah classes, a women’s circle, holiday programs, Sunday brunch with the usual Nova, bagels and a little smear of cream cheese, Shabbatons in other states for national Jewish conventions, skydiving with the rabbi, and sometimes a study group at ne of the local bars for those over the age of 21. Chabad’s main goal is to create lasting friendships inside the Jewish community and to encourage the continuity of Torah learning for future generations. Rabbi and Rivkie Lipskier love making students feel welcome and hope to become “a lasting part of the UCF community for as long as there are students thirsty for security, knowledge and friendship.”The Lipskiers invite all Jewish students to their home next Shabbat “for a meal that will affect you on a deeper level than just free food.” They conclude: “It is an unforgettable evening that will be sure to have you singing and slamming on tables.” For more information, visit jewishucf.com.

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