Shabbat Spirit at LifeTown

The only thing better than sharing Shabbat with your family is to share it with the hundreds of people who make up the Friendship Circle’s extended family – children, parents, staff, volunteers and community members. On February 9th, over 300 people came together for a Fabulous Friday Night and Shabbaton at LifeTown, which provided a unique opportunity for both children and adults to relax, socialize, and enjoy a variety of activities.

Even before the Shabbaton, Friendship Circle’s young adults were working hard to get ready.

They helped by making the challah, “franks in blanks,” and desserts, and setting the tables. During the Shabbaton they were filled with pride seeing everyone enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Children like Sammy Spool had the unique opportunity to enjoy a full night and day of Shabbat activities with other children as well as Friendship Circle volunteers, who made each aspect of the event easy and enjoyable. “My son had never been to a Shabbaton and this was his first,” said Aaron Spool. “It was a magical event and I am so happy we went.”

The evening kicked off with a communal lighting of Shabbat candles, followed by storytime and playground time for the children, while their parents enjoyed a festive Kabbalat Shabbat. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a delicious Shabbat dinner together. “LifeTown looked like a grand simcha hall,” says Mindy Lazaroff. “The meals were delicious and our children had an amazing time, moving from activity to activity. It was so nice to sit and shmooze with friends and meet new people – things that I rarely have the opportunity to do on Shabbos.”

After dinner, the children enjoyed a juggling show while the adults heard from the weekend’s scholar-in-residence, Rabbi Yacov Barber. Rabbi Barber uses ancient and modern wisdom to inspire and motivate audiences around the world, and he began a series of talks addressing the topic on everyone’s mind: How to feel less helpless during Israel’s time of need.

“The Shabbaton is a great experience,” says Chaia Sagorsky. “My daughter has been looking forward to it and the atmosphere is amazing – making new friends, learning and enjoying a beautiful Shabbos with everyone.”

The next day, the children enjoyed nonstop activities: Shabbos morning prayer services, games and sports, as well as a magic show and Shabbos party. Meanwhile, the adults enjoyed additional opportunities to learn with Rabbi Barber, while enjoying more delicious meals and time to get to know each other. “It’s a fabulous experience,” says Lori Saunders. “Great people, great speaker and loads of warmth and love!”

The day seemed to fly by, and then it was time for everyone to come together for Havdallah in the LifeTown Shoppes. When it was time to say goodbye, everyone felt rejuvenated and grateful for this break from everyday life.

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