Hillel to host Shabbat in honor of interfaith advocate

Ashlyne Wilson

Hillel at Kent State will host a special Shabbat in honor of Avi Schaefer’s legacy as an activist for interfaith dialogue. The Avi Interfaith Shabbat will be held at the Cohn Jewish  Student Center Friday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m.

Schaefer was a Jewish, Brown University student who was killed by a drunken driver Feb. 12, 2010. Schaefer was very involved in getting people to communicate through interfaith dialogue and was considered a voice of Israel and peace. After his death, his family started The Avi Schefer Fund in honor of his life as a person who believed in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jewish organizations on college campuses around the country use this time of year to honor Schaefer as well.

Hillel’s Rabbi, Lee Moore, said that all of the Shabbats they have are open to everyone but especially this one. They not only want to honor Schaefer but also encourage everyone no matter what religion to come celebrate with them.

“This is sort of a call out to the community,” Moore said. “We are interested in opening our doors.”

Wolfgang Davidson, a sophomore anthropology major and a student intern of Hillel, said that the event is good for giving people a glimpse of Jewish life.

He said that United Christian Ministries will start off the night with icebreakers, followed by a presentation on Islam by a Muslim student.

Davidson also said they will have the presentation because Schaefer worked with interface dialogue specifically for Jewish and Muslim individuals. He said he is also passionate about educating people about Islam and the Muslim faith.

“[Islam is] very misunderstood; the news doesn’t do it much justice,” Davidson said.

Lee said that she is excited about the Muslim presentation because she feels that Americans don’t know a lot about Islam, and it’s “very important to learn about other religions to dispel ignorance, especially on a university campus.”

After the presentation, Hillel will have their traditional Friday night service, which is called “Kabbalat Shabbat,” a prayer service that will be held in English and Hebrew.

Rabbi Lee said she will explain all the different prayers and talk about what is being said in Hebrew for those who do not understand the Hebrew language.

After the prayer service, they will have a dinner of traditional Jewish food and will possibly have games or discussions to let people get to know one another.

Davidson said this day is to honor Schaefer, and by honoring him, the Hillel organization encourages interfaith interaction.

For more information visit http://www.avischaeferfund.org/.

Contact Ashlyne Wilson at [email protected].