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Russian Shabbaton in New York

Published in Jewlicious

Really? Since when do we cover little shabbatons?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m a mushball? Or maybe I remember all those times I stood outside the Russian consulate on Rue de la Montaigne in Montreal, in the freezing winter, screaming “Let my people go!” – but whenever I see Jews from the Former Soviet Union doing, you know, Jewy things, I get kind of misty eyed. Last weekend, ourJewlicious.ru editor, Tanya Gutsol, led a delegation from UMD Hillel on a shabbaton in Brooklyn. There they were joined by a group of Brooklyn Russian speaking Jews and together they enjoyed the kind of sabbath experience many of us take for granted. For many of the students, the Shabbaton was their first Shabbat experience ever, and the whole weekend combined religious and cultural experiences of the kind that might have sent their parents on a one way trip to Lubyanka penitentiary. I wonder what Brezhnev would have thought of the movie “Everything is Illuminated?” or of a raucous and joy filled Havdalah service? Well the students enjoyed these and other activities together during the course of their trip. I’d like to think that that poor, freezing kid in Montreal so long ago played just a teeny little role in making it all happen.

Yeah, I’m a mushball.