Students Speak

Hear from other students who attend Chabad of UVa 


"Stick around after that delicious Shabbat dinner and you'll find a lively group of undergrads and graduate UVA students spending time discussing, debating and learning something Jewish. Whether it's as fascinating as digesting a piece of Torah with a piece of cake for dessert, or as controversial as debating the Jewish view of issues affecting the University, it's sure to be a fun, interesting, and fully entertaining experience! If you leave before dessert, you don't know what you're missing!"

"I've always wanted to learn some Torah and Talmud, but I thought you had to speak Hebrew or have gone to Yeshiva. The "Cake & Kabbalah" class has opened my mind to the teachings of some of the greatest rabbinic thinkers in history – and we even discuss some Jewish mysticism! Thank you so much!"

"I'll never forget my first Shabbat at UVA.  I was up in the air about whether to go to the Chabad house or to Hillel, and finally I decided that since Chabad was closer (a mere two blocks from my dorm), I'd go there and see what it was like.  I'd never been to a Chabad house before, but I immediately fell in love with the place, the people, the welcoming  atmosphere, everything!  Most people will tell you that they came from very little Jewish background and yet they love Chabad because no one there pressures you to participate.  
I'm here to give you another perspective: I was worried, when I applied to UVA, that there would not be enough Jewish life here for me, as I had gone to a Jewish school for three years before college.  II found out, though, that if you really want to be Jewish every day and not just on Shabbat, Chabad will make it happen-from lending you a mezuzah for your door to teaching classes during the week to giving you the opportunity to do a mitzvah by babysitting (which I used to do every week). And if you just want to come for the good food on Shabbat, 
that's fine too. I'll see you there!"

"I was born and raised in a Jewish household, but, around the age of 15, I felt like I was going through the motions, and everything had lost its meaning and significance to me.  I stopped practicing completly.

Then, in my first year at UVA, one of my friends invited me to Chabad. I was very apprehensive, I hadn't practiced Judaism in a very long time, and I thought that I wouldn't be able to fit in easily.

I was completely wrong. The first night I came to Chabad, I was welcomed enthusiastically, and I wasn't pressured to participate in services, or anything that I was uncomfortable with. Nobody pressures you to keep coming...but you'll find the pull to come back develops on its own. I'm beginning to practice again, and beginning to recover the faith I'd lost four years ago.

At the minimum, come just once, stuff yourself full of good Jewish food (and it is REALLY good folks, Channa's an awesome cook) and meet everybody. Shlomo and Channa are more than willing to answer any questions you may have. After that, you can come to services, or you can take classes, whatever you feel comfortable doing.

After a while, you might just come to find that Chabad is your Jewish home away from home, just as I did."

"Chabad provides a warm Jewish home for undergraduate and graduate students alike.  Here, one can get a sense of community, a sense of identity, and hey, some good food too!  My favorite event is the Friday night service and meal.  After a long stressful week, it is nice to have a place to go to clear my mind, see old friends, meet new ones, and celebrate Shabbat. It's a great way to start off the weekend."

"What can I say? Good food, good conversation, good friends in a Jewish family environment.  Thank you so much for providing such a warm and welcoming experience during the recent Open House.

My son felt at home immediately and enjoyed the varied and intellectually stimulating conversations he had with the students who were in attendance.  I cannot overstate the value of his having a Jewish home away from home whenever he needs a "taste of spirituality" or just some good fun during his time at UVa.  

Your schedule of activities and events is awesome!  Shlomo and Channa succeed in making all visitors comfortable, no matter their level of observance!!"

"As an alumnus(Col'70;Law'74) and current UVa parent, I strongly encourage any student or parents of students who are in any manner interested in the religious, intellectual or cultural aspects of Judaism to find their way to the Chabad House on Lewis Mt. Road.  Inside you will find two of the most remarkable people you will ever want to meet – Rabbi Shlomo and Chana Mayer.

I was lucky enough to be cold-called by Rabbi Shlomo two years ago and since that time have developed an enormous respect and real friendship with him. I have been so impressed and thankful for what he and Chana offer to every Jewish student at UVa – and I mean every student. Many people think that Chabad is only for Orthodox or religious Jews. Not true. The wonderful experience of enjoying a "home away from home" is available for all students. Shlomo and Chana are so welcoming and so non-judgmental as to put any person, young or old, immediately at ease.

I am not particularly religious in a traditional sense nor ever had a particularly close relationship with a Rabbi. However, in Rabbi Shlomo I have found that truly exceptional individual that exhibits those qualities one has always hoped to find in a Rabbi – compassion, warmth and intelligence. Although I live over 300 miles from Charlottesville, I consider Shlomo my Rabbi in every sense of the word. I hope you give yourselves the opportunity of developing a uniquely rewarding relationship with Shlomo and Chana."

Joel B. Gardner
Senior Managing Director
Head of Corporate Finance
Burnham Securities Inc.