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Last Friday, the Penn Democrats and College Republicans took off their party-affiliation pins and put on their yarmulkes.

The two groups sat down together at the Lubavitch House, at 4037 Pine St., for their annual Shabbat Unity Dinner. According to Penn Dems President and College sophomore Emma Ellman-Golan, the dinner is one of the activities during which the two groups come together to emphasize bipartisanship.

In addition to the dinner, she said the Penn Dems and College Republicans always share a “Welcome Back Barbeque,” and try to hold one debate between the groups each semester. She added that the dinner was less political than these other events.

Rabbi Levi Haskelevich, who organized the gathering, said the event was inspired by the teachings of the Lubavitch House’s Rabbi Menachem Schneerson on “how to connect those people who are very diverse.”

“The Rebbe was able to connect with all kinds of people from all walks of life,” he said. “We take inspiration from him.”

He said the dinner was successful in “unifying rather than debating.”

Ellman-Golan said the dinner was another reinforcement of the good relations between the Penn Dems and College Republicans.

“We know each other as people, not opponents,” she said.

According to College junior Grant Dubler, a self-proclaimed political moderate who attended the dinner, the theme of politics was prominent throughout the night, though not explicitly emphasized.

He said a setting like the dinner was different from hearing people with differing views that are easily dismissed on television.

“When they’re your peers, you give them credit as intelligent Penn students,” he said, “and you listen.”

The dinner was the first Shabbat experience for College Republicans vice chairman and Engineering sophomore Peter Terpeluk.

Terpeluk also said the night was not debate-based, but rather a discussion between different people.

He added that there is “enough disagreement among College Republicans.”

“We don’t really need to debate with the Democrats,” he said.

According to Dubler, the event was a success, with students filling more than the usual amount of Shabbat tables that the Lubavitch House offers.

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