For most students, Thanksgiving weekend is a long-awaited highlight of the fall semester. Thanksgiving not only provides students with a welcomed vacation, but it is also a special time for students to celebrate the holiday together with family. Yet, for a large number of Stern students whose families live outside of New York, or the United States, Thanksgiving weekend can be a source of anxiety and homesickness. Realizing this struggle for many out-of-town students, Professor Scott Goldberg, Associate Professor at Azrieli Graduate School, has been welcoming students to his home in Passaic for a number of years to spend Thanksgiving dinner together with his family.
Racheli Schuraytz, SCW ‘20, shared with The Observer, “As an out-of-towner from Los Angeles, flying home for Thanksgiving was never an option for me. Growing up, Thanksgiving was always about family. The thought of having to celebrate Thanksgiving without a family was one of the hardest moments of my first year on campus. But the Goldberg family gave me (and many other students!) not one, not two, but three years of Thanksgiving dinners. And each time they were so welcoming and relaxed. It felt just like home, complete with the family feel and delicious pumpkin pie!”
When The Observer asked Professor Goldberg what led him and his wife to begin the tradition of sharing their Thanksgiving dinner with YU students, Goldberg explained, “During our years as students at the University of Chicago and Boston University, we appreciated the opportunity to dine in the homes of professors and university administrators for Thanksgiving. We want YU students to have the same opportunity to enjoy the holiday with a family and a home-cooked meal. We also enjoy meeting so many students from around the U.S. and the world—they all enhance our Thanksgiving table and create lasting memories for our family.”
Goldberg continued to describe the Thanksgiving feast, “We enjoy freshly made rolls, a freshly carved roasted turkey, amazing side dishes, and a plethora of deserts. The conversation often includes discussions of Thanksgiving memories, and for many years, at least one student is attending their first Thanksgiving meal ever. Students leave with “doggie bags” so they can take a bit of the yummy taste of Thanksgiving home with them to their dorms or apartments.” Goldberg added that his family looks forward to the dinner each year, and his kids “ask about it regularly.”
For some students, their connection with the Goldberg family, created at the Thanksgiving dinner, extends beyond one evening each year. Rebecca Garber, who graduated Stern in 2017, explained that she felt so welcomed by the Goldbergs that she continued visiting them throughout her time at Stern. Garber told The Observer, “Sometimes it can be difficult being away from your family on Shabbos or other times during the year. Therefore, finding a home away from home is so crucial. Whether that means leaving Stern or just being around people who love you, having that “place” can completely change your college experience. The Goldberg’s home definitely became one of those places for me, and I am so grateful to them for that.” Though Garber has graduated Stern, she looks forward to attending the Goldberg’s Thanksgiving dinner this year, and bringing her out-of-town friends from Temple medical school along with her.
Regarding the Goldberg’s Thanksgiving dinner, Garber added, “It is so nice knowing that I don’t have to go all the way home to Atlanta to be able to go to a place that feels like home. The entire Goldberg family is so welcoming and truly a pleasure to be around. Plus, there is absolutely no way to even begin to describe the plethora of delicious food that Mrs. Goldberg makes. Every year I know what to expect, but still find myself blown away by the amount of time and energy that is put into making this a special experience.”
Similarly, Schuraytz added, “My first Thanksgiving at the Goldbergs was so special that I went back every single year, and even stayed for Shabbat last time.”
While the Goldberg’s home in Passaic is a beloved Thanksgiving destination, Talia Molotsky, Coordinator of Student Life at the Beren Campus shared that this year, Stern students will also have the option to have Thanksgiving dinner on campus. The Rosenzweig campus couple will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for Stern students in their home on 35th Street. Mrs. Rosenzweig told The Observer, “As long as we’re here, all students have a place at our table. No one at Stern should feel they have no place to go. The more the merrier!”