The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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From sunset on Friday until nightfall on Saturday, Jewish people celebrate a day of rest, known as Shabbat, to focus on being instead of doing, and spending time with family, community and prayer.

This Friday, Chabad Jewish Student Center is teaming up with Alpha Epsilon Phi, a Jewish sorority that formed a chapter at A&M last spring, to host a breast cancer awareness dinner. 

The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is slightly higher for Ashkenazi Jews, or Jews of Eastern European descent, compared to other women in the United States, according to the Susan G. Komen organization.

Because of that, Delaney Becker President of Alpha Epsilon Phi, said encouraging awareness of breast cancer is very important.

“What better way to show community involvement, than by teaming up to spread awareness of this type of cancer,” Becker said.

The night begins at 8 p.m. at the center with evening prayer services and is followed by a five-course meal. 

Lunches and dinners are routinely held for Shabbat at the Chabad Center. Manya Lazaroff, a director of the center with her husband, Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, said the gatherings offer a safe environment for students to spend time with their friends and reflect on their heritage and faith.

“The impact of a Shabbat dinner at Chabad can last a lifetime,” she said. “Students that experience Shabbat at Chabad take that knowledge and experience and bring it back to their homes, and eventually, when they start their own family, they bring this experience to their own homes.”

The food served at the dinner will be homemade and kosher, Rabbi Lazaroff said. Students also help prepare the meal.

“Many students come to assist and participate in the cooking frenzy every Thursday night for ‘Kosher Cooking Club,’” he said.

Alpha Epsilon Phi came to A&M last spring when the university’s Panhellenic Council and national leaders of Alpha Epsilon Phi voted to create an AEPhi colony, Berman said. The new chapter replaced Zeta Beta Sigma, a local sorority for Jewish women, that was started in 2010.

“We reached out to AEPhi with interest to become a chapter because we wanted the national support of a Jewish sorority, and Zeta Beta Sigma’s core values were very similar to Alpha Epsolon Phi’s,” Berman said.

Berman said she had some reservations about becoming involved with a sorority, but she decided to join because she felt at home with its values and members.

“Creating strong bonds with like-minded individuals has given me both a place to grow as a person and an amazing support system,” Berman said. “Through both the happiest and darkest times of my collegiate career, my sisters’ love does not falter.”

Students benefit from having a strong connection to their Jewish heritage, Rabbi Lazaroff said.

“Our goal is to empower students,” Lazaroff said. “Knowledge is empowering. We aim to give students opportunities to grow in their Jewish knowledge and experiences.”

Alpha Epsilon Phi, Lazaroff said, will contribute to that effort.

“They are a great group of girls and increases the diversity at Texas A&M,” Lazaroff said. “Having a Jewish sorority will definitely make Texas A&M more inviting to Jewish students.”

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