When the sun goes down, the candles and the Shabbat keys come out.
This year, only six students in the Class of 2009 elected to receive the so-called “Shabbat key” from Hillel. They are observant Jews who cannot use electricity on the Sabbath, so they have to use a mechanical key to get into their dorms.
Out of the seventeen freshmen dorms, only Hurlbut, Thayer, Massachusetts Hall, and Claverly have mechanical key access. The rest require swipe cards.
But not all Shabbat keys are created equal.
Austin M. Litoff ’09, a self-described orthodox Jew living in Thayer, faced a dilemma involving his Shabbat key. The key he received only opened the basement door, and from there he would be required to take the electric elevator to his room. Litoff, who has since lost the somewhat useless key, has to piggy-back into Thayer from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.
The Hurlbut keys, though, apparently work fine. So does that mean that Hurlbut is the new Hillel alternative for those locked out of Thayer?
“Since Hurlbut is a very small dorm, it feels like a very overwhelming majority [is Jewish],” says Hurlbut resident Yonit D. Lavin ’09.
And until the Thayer key situation works out, Hurlbut might just be a new campus hot-spot.