As the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused severe disruption across our country and world, countless individuals find themselves in an unprecedented moment of isolation, unable to interact with much of their surrounding community. Fortunately, Fairfield University faculty have been working tirelessly to replicate on-campus activities and events on this new virtual platform. As part of ongoing efforts to incorporate and celebrate Jewish culture on campus, Rabbi Jim Prosnit of Campus Ministry has organized monthly Shabbat services since the beginning of the academic year for Jewish students and faculty.
Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath, marking the end of the week and welcoming in a period of reflection and relaxation. Fairfield’s campus has fully embraced Rabbi Prosnit’s idea, with Shabbat services often attended by upwards of 30 guests, from Jewish students and faculty to members of the Fairfield County community, and even curious students from religious studies classes. To make the occasion even more special, Rabbi Prosnit is frequently joined by musical guests, and Campus Ministry offers a post-service dinner for all who attend.
As campus activities were suspended indefinitely last month, many students wondered if plans to hold Shabbat services for the remainder of the semester would be disbanded. However, Rabbi Prosnit organized a virtual Shabbat this past Friday using Zoom and over 40 people joined him. The service was a delightful mix of readings and song, but most of all, a time for many Stags to come together during this difficult, uncertain period. Aside from exercising caution and vigilance, the way to overcome this troubling moment is by working together as one campus, and one larger community. These virtual Shabbat services, though a relatively small initiative compared to what is likely required, are just one way that Fairfield is reminding students that the campus community travels back home with them. Perhaps this is something all Stags could benefit from, knowing that they are never alone and that our campus remains strong during this time.