The often-quoted number one rule in real estate is “location, location, location,” and the same holds true for impactful Shabbatons. Jamaica Estates was the place to be when the Women’s Division of Emet Outreach hosted their first Shabbos experience there. While Emet regularly welcomes students to Shabbatons, this optimal location meant that many of the girls could spend Shabbos at home in their beloved community. “Hosting a Shabbaton like this was something we’ve wanted to do for a while, especially for the girls who normally can’t get away. Instead of coming to us, we brought the kedusha of a Shabbaton to them,” said Ms. Adina Fendel, Women’s Director. “There was an amazing excitement, and the girls were really proud to be in their community.”
The first step in making this Shabbaton a reality was finding a spacious Airbnb in the heart of the area, which served as Emet’s base. About half of the over 70 girls were locals, and the rest were hosted. The group enjoyed a relaxing Friday night dinner, catered by Simcha Palace. The focal point of conversation was the theme of “finding inner peace on Shabbos.” This was followed by an incredible Oneg Shabbos for the women of the community that drew over 100 students, family, and friends. Guests enjoyed connecting over tea and refreshments. Mrs. Amit Yaghoubi, renowned educator, energized and inspired the crowd when she spoke about “Shabbos: The Ultimate Mindfulness.”
On Shabbos day, the girls spent lunch with families living in the area. After lunch, the girls gathered to hear Mrs. Yaghoubi continue the theme with “Living My Best Life.” Rabbi Nissim Musheyev, Emet’s Community Development Director, elevated Seudah Shlishit with a discussion on “Hodu LaHashem: Staying Grateful.” Shabbos was brought to an uplifting close with a musical Havdalah by Rabbi Mordechai Kraft, Educational Director.
“After every Emet Shabbaton, I’ve felt more inspired and motivated to be closer to Hashem. It was the same with this Shabbaton, but the experience resonated with me even more because of spending it so close to home among fellow Bukharians,” Sharona Malakov said. “I’ve met many great families on other Shabbatons, but this time I could relate more to my hosts since we have mutual friends and family. Seeing how they keep Shabbos in the context of our community made me feel like it would be possible for me to do the same. I’m also very thankful to Emet for giving me the opportunity to develop relationships with so many people that bring so much to my life.”
Esther Mavlyanova also reflected on the community. “The Shabbaton was very inspiring and moving. It was really special to see the whole community get together, and to take a step back and appreciate how far the community has grown and how united we are in our yearning to be closer to Hashem,” she said. “During the Friday night kumzits, the kedushah of Shabbos was really palpable in the room because we were able to feel the essence of Shabbos which is connecting to Hashem. We connected to Hashem through connecting with each other.”
Emet plans to host more community based Shabbatons like this in the coming months. Stay tuned for details!
For further information about Emet programs visit EmetOutreach.org, and to experience Emet’s comprehensive video library of Torah lectures visit EmetTorah.com.