Aish Manchester has had an exceptionally busy November so far, taking two large groups of students away for incredible Shabbatonim. The first Shabbaton, took place 4-6th November, seeing 50 year 11 students join Aish’s Rabbi Zvi and Miriam Gefen, Rabbi Shauly and Adina Strom and head madrichim Saul and Chani Bishop for a weekend away in Kingswood Adventure Activity Centre in the Peak District. The weekend began with a trip to the local arcades for a round of games and pizza before heading off to the beautiful Peak District.
The Year 11 Shabbaton not only included lively educational discussions, a powerful shabbat filled with singing and sharing ideas and a havdallah followed by a bonfire, but the students also got to spend Sunday in the adventure centre, enjoying abseiling, zip lining and laser tag.
One of the students who attended the trip said: “I think this was such an incredible weekend as it was so different to just going to shul for Shabbat and maybe a family meal. The atmosphere, the people, the songs, it was all so amazing. As a whole the weekend was so beautiful. I loved everyone coming together to sing and really feeling a connection.”
Another student said: “The Shabbaton had the nicest atmosphere, especially with all the singing. I’ve learnt so much more about my Jewish identity and continuing my Judaism with my future children.”
The second sold out Shabbaton took place on 11-13th November and was open to all year 13 students. To kick the weekend off the boys took part in a cholent cook off before Shabbat came in, whilst the girls made use of the hot tub and swimming pool. The weekend had the students exploring various concepts such as ‘is there enough evidence to prove the Torah is true’ alongside a Judaism Q&A. Discussions also included the future of the Jewish community and the role that everyone plans in that, before taking some time to enjoy the beautiful Welsh countryside. One of the students brought their guitar and helped make a beautiful musical havdallah to end Shabbat.
A student who attended the year 13 Aish Shabbaton said: “These two days allowed me to get a better understanding of what it means to be Jewish and most importantly how to get the best out of being Jewish for the rest of my life.”
Rabbi Zvi Gefen Director and Educator of Aish Manchester said: “It was amazing to have so many young people sign up to each Shabbaton so quickly, all of which wanted to experience an inspirational, uplifting and fun-filled Shabbat with their friends. The Shabbaton was a great opportunity for the students to ask questions, explore their Jewish identity and to envision themselves as an integral part of the Jewish future all whilst having a great time, so much so that we’re already planning the next one!”