May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Russian-Jewish Shabbaton Inspires Communal Unity

The Russian-Jewish Shabbaton brings Jewish learning, community and inspiration to three generations of Russian Jews.

Russian Jewish women participating in a Challah bake at the 15th annual International Russian-Jewish Shabbaton. (Credit: Alex Rosenfeld Photography)

(Courtesy of Chabad.org) The 15th annual International Russian-Jewish Shabbaton, held at the Hilton Hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey from March 29-31, concluded with resounding success, drawing over 1,200 former Soviet Jews and their families from across the United States, Canada, and Israel. The event provided a platform for attendees to celebrate their heritage, strengthen their Jewish identity and foster a sense of communal solidarity.

“The Shabbaton brought together all types of ex-Soviet Jews: Russian, Ukrainian, Bukharian and Kavkazi from over 40 communities who gathered for a weekend of unity, solidarity and Jewish pride,” said Rabbi Bentzion Laskin, program director at Chamah and organizer of the shabbaton. “Since Oct. 7, Russian Jews have felt a special need to come together and connect with their heritage, their people and their faith.”

Throughout the weekend, participants engaged in a variety of enriching activities including challah baking, prayer services, communal Shabbat meals, educational lectures and inspirational seminars. The variety of workshops, given in both English and Russian, focused on topics such as Jewish learning, holistic health and wellness, Israel advocacy and meaning in life.

Russian Jewish men are seen davening at the at the 15th annual International Russian-Jewish Shabbaton. (Credit: Alex Rosenfeld Photography)

The speakers included counter-terrorism expert and IDF reservist Yair Ansbacher; Rabbi Yehoram Ulman; Touro University professor of speech pathologyIsabella Reichel; and New York Israeli Consulate spokesperson Itay Milner, who provided valuable insights on a range of topics relevant to Russian speaking Jews.

A highlight of this year’s Shabbaton was the focus on Jewish dating and matchmaking, with presentations by renowned experts such as Aleeza Ben Shalom from Netflix’s “The Jewish Matchmaker,” Rabbi Manis Friedman, and Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, the “love rabbi.” Many couples who met at previous Russian Shabbatons returned to this year’s event with their children, underscoring the lasting impact of the program on individual lives and family units.

The success of this year’s shabbaton was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Laskin as well as Rabbis Kasriel Kastel, Hillel Zaltzman, Moshiach Chudaitov, Binyomin Malachovski, Berri Spitezki, and the dedicated team of volunteers and supporters.

As the event concluded, participants departed with renewed inspiration and a deepened sense of connection to their heritage. One of the participants was 26-year-old Sam Pinsky of Brighton, Massachusetts. “Since Oct. 7, I felt the need to be more spiritual and connect with my people. As a Russian Jew, I felt that coming to this Shabbaton would help me connect to young Jews and spirituality,” he said. “Some of the lectures I attended were by Manis Friedman, whose videos I watch on YouTube about dating and spirituality. He’s kind of a Jewish icon.”

The post-Shabbat program concluded with a vibrant Jewish jazz concert featuring Israeli composer and singer Zlata Razdolina and violinist Rivka Miriam Fisher, along with performances by Israeli singing sensations Avi Peretz and Vladi Blayberg, and famed Cantor Moshe Shur, thus providing a fitting finale to a weekend filled with inspiration and community spirit.

The International Russian-Jewish Shabbaton serves as a testament to the ongoing efforts of organizations like Chabad-Lubavitch and Chamah to strengthen Jewish identity and community bonds among former Soviet Jews. The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has played an integral role in ushering in a golden age of Jewry in the former Soviet Union, where Chabad’s impact continues to be felt today with hundreds of emissary couples servicing the Jewish communities across the former Soviet Union.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles