Monmouth University president Paul Gaffney welcomed more than 30 students and a dozen other guests into his home on Feb. 28 for an informal kosher meal and a hallah-baking lesson.
The school’s Chabad club organized the event at the home of Gaffney and his wife, Linda, who are not Jewish.
Club adviser Rabbi Yaakov Greenberg and his wife, Rivki — who served as the chief baking instructor — have been holding similar events on a monthly basis at their own home, but their kitchen will accommodate only about five or six people at a time. By contrast, the Gaffneys’ large residence on the West Long Branch campus boasts a kitchen with five ovens and two dishwashers.
Greenberg also thought that the chance to tour the president’s home would be a big draw, and he was seemingly right; he noted the presence of some 10 “new faces” in the group.
Most important, he added, the Gaffneys were eager to welcome the club and its members.
A few days before the event, Greenberg visited the home and kashered the kitchen. On the evening of the activity, disposable pans, plates, and cutlery were used. Chabad distributed aprons to all the novice bakers, including the Gaffneys, on which was printed the message, “Kneading Spirituality.”
One visitor commented, “This is what college should always be — a blend of fun and learning.”