Celebrating Shabbat Together: A Monthly Gathering for JSDD Residents

Earlier this year, JSDD residents began coming together once a month to celebrate Shabbat in person. The joy of community and tradition is palpable each month as the participants gather to welcome Shabbat in person. The evening begins with blessings over the candles, challah, and grape juice, setting a serene and spiritual tone for welcoming Shabbat. Different residents volunteer to lead a prayer each month.

Participants share highlights from the past week, such as what they are doing at the WAE Center or visits with family. Those who joined the Centennial Mission to Israel love to recount their memorable experiences. Alicia recently recalled the days of virtual visits to Israel in their Judaic classes and was thrilled to see the dream of visiting Israel in person come true for some of her friends. Mark expressed how unforgettable his trip was, while others like to talk about the delicious meal from Village ShopRite. Stacy N. has shared stories of her life at work.

Hagit Oren, JSDD’s Judaic Coordinator leads a lesson about the weekly torah portion. The group also takes time to talk about their hopes for peace in the Middle East including the release of all hostages held in Gaza. They offer prayers for peace and freedom. To end the evening, the group sings Shabbat songs in Hebrew and English, concluding with the Mi Shebeirach prayer for those in need of healing.

Hagit continues to offer meaningful weekly virtual Shabbat gatherings that the residents love and look forward to celebrating. These monthly in-person celebrations offer a rich tapestry of shared experiences, spiritual and reflection. The blend of tradition, personal stories, and communal prayer fosters a deep sense of connection and belonging making each Shabbat a cherished occasion for all involved.