As Jewish students returned to college campuses after the summer break, they reconnected with old friends and make new ones at “welcome back” Shabbat dinners, barbecues and picnics organized by Chabad on Campus, which continues to see year over year growth, and now has 260 permanent centers serving more than 500 colleges internationally, expanding its lifelong influence on Jewish students at universities around the world.

The Battle Has Yet to Begin in Waterloo

Situated west of Toronto, Waterloo, Ontario, has a sizeable Jewish population. Since 2008, their spiritual, emotional and even physical needs have been served at the Rohr Chabad Centre for Jewish Life.

Kosher Meets Kosher!

The crowds are somewhat smaller in Carbondale, Ill., where Chabad at Southern Illinois University serves a Jewish student population of about 300. And so, a mess of kosher hotdogs (on a brand-new grill) were enjoyed with generous trimmings and a dollop of Torah inspiration.

Mourning and Inspiration

Just moments before Shabbat, Rabbi Hershey Novack lost his beloved father. The tables were set, the food was cooked, and the students were assembled. Speaking before the onset of Shabbat, his wife, Chana R. Novack, and co-director at Chabad on Campus at Washington University in St. Louis, shared the couple’s heartfelt sentiment: “We all hope that my father-in-law is looking upon us from above and proud to see so many students coming together to celebrate Shabbat dinner tonight.”

Wishing Rabbi Novack and his family condolences on their loss.

Queens Is King

It’s been 16 years since Rabbi Shaul and Tzipah Wertheimer welcomed students to Chabad on Campus of Queens in Kew Garden Hills, N.Y., and that means that this is their 16th annual “welcome back” barbecue. The freshmen they just welcomed were probably in diapers when the couple purchased corn on the cob, kosher meat and other BBQ fare for that first event.

It’s a Wrap!

The front lawn of the Schottenstein Chabad House at OSU was the scene of youthful laughter, lively conversation and tefillin-wrapping. Rabbi Zalman Deitsch, who co-directs the bustling Chabad at The Ohio State University with his wife, Sarah, since 1996, hasn’t lost his touch with the grill, or his passion for helping young men put on tefillin and say a quick prayer.

What’s a Little Rain if You’re a Jewish Gator?

So what if it’s raining cats and dogs? The Chabad Jewish Center in Gainesville, Fla.—home to the biggest Jewish student populations in the country—moved the festivities indoors into the massive 23,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building where everything from french fries to frisbee-throwing continued as usual.

Door Prizes, Anyone?

With everyone settling into new dorm rooms, when’s the best time to decorate a personal mezuzah case? The answer: Any time! But the materials were also on hand at the “welcome back” picnic put on by Chabad of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Welcome home!

Are you a student just entering college? Find your closest Chabad on campus, and you’ll discover friendship, camaraderie, inspiration, learning and a true ‘home away from home.’