June 2, 2024
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Teaneck Hosts Inspiring JLIC Shabbaton

Participants enjoy a weekend of learning, community and spiritual growth.

(Courtesy of JLIC) From May 17-May 18, Teaneck played host to a memorable shabbaton organized by JLIC (Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus). The event saw the participation of 50 students from various universities across the United States alongside distinguished JLIC staff members including Rabbi Jonathan Shulman, director of JLIC Israel; Rabbi Noam Friedman, JLIC director at Reichman University; Gracie Newmark, associate director of Yavneh; Rabbi Avi and Sara Schwartz, directors of JLIC at Rutgers University; and Rabbi Elie Buechler, director of JLIC at Columbia University/Barnard College.

The shabbaton, hosted by Robyn and Shukie Grossman, chairman of the JLIC Commission, began on Friday night with a spirited Carlebach-style davening at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun. The atmosphere was filled with song and spiritual energy. Buechler delivered an insightful dvar Torah, setting the tone for the evening. Following the services, participants gathered for a group dinner hosted at the Grossman’s home.

Throughout the dinner, several students, including a few Yavneh fellows, took the opportunity to share their own divrei Torah. These student contributions added a personal touch to the evening, reflecting the diverse backgrounds and perspectives within the group. The discussions continued late into the night, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among the attendees.

Shabbat morning the group joined the Keter Torah 9 a.m. minyan. The davening was followed by a hot kiddush, where JLIC students mingled with the synagogue members, building connections and discussing shared interests. This was succeeded by an organizational overview of JLIC programs and activities, presented in an engaging manner that highlighted the breadth and impact of JLIC’s work on campuses nationwide. Rabbi Shulman then delivered a shiur, which was both enlightening and thought-provoking.

Lunch was organized in small groups hosted by various members of the Teaneck community. This arrangement allowed for more intimate interactions, enabling students to connect with community members on a personal level. These smaller settings fostered meaningful conversations about Jewish life on campus and beyond, providing both students and hosts with new insights and perspectives.

In the late afternoon, the group reconvened for seuda shlishit at the Grossman home. This gathering saw additional community members joining to hear from the students about their experiences on college campuses over the past few months. Rabbi Shulman led a dynamic discussion where students from a wide range of schools, including Columbia, UCLA, Rutgers, Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, Binghamton, Hofstra and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, shared their experiences. Some students spoke about their involvement in the Yavneh fellowship program, JLIC summer programs and various college options in Israel. These testimonials highlighted the supportive role JLIC played in their lives, providing them with a strong Jewish foundation during their college years.

The shabbaton concluded with an emotional Havdala service. The ceremony was a poignant end to a weekend filled with learning, inspiration and community building. The students, along with the JLIC staff and community members, sang together, creating a harmonious and uplifting atmosphere that left a lasting impression on everyone present.

The Teaneck shabbaton was a resounding success, embodying the mission of JLIC to support and enrich Jewish life on college campuses. The event not only strengthened the bonds among the students and staff but also forged new connections with the Teaneck community. As the participants returned to their respective campuses, they carried with them the lessons and inspiration from this special Shabbat, ready to infuse their own communities with renewed vigor and commitment to Jewish learning and living.

This shabbaton exemplified the profound impact of immersive Jewish experiences and the importance of community support for young Jewish adults navigating their college years. The shared moments of Torah, tefillah and personal connection underscored the vibrancy and resilience of Jewish life, promising a bright future for these students as they continue their journeys.

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