Chabad on Campus UK hosted an exhilarating Shabbaton with students from over 10 university campuses across the UK in a suitably idyllic location in South Wales, in West Glamorgan, Goytre Valley.
Surrounded by water falls and hills, students indulged in the beauty of the Welsh countryside while enjoying the richness of Jewish life and study. Students had the opportunity to attend sessions on a variety of topics of contemporary Jewish interest, as genetic engineering, the environment, Judaism and psychology, in addition to spirited and lively Shabbat dinners, with discussions that went on until the early hours of the morning. The weekend concluded with an outdoor activity, including quad biking and golf.
Scholar in residence for the weekend and guest speaker was RabbiShlomo Yaffe, director of the Institute for Talmudic Law in NY and scholar in residence at Chabad at Harvard University, in addition to renowned psychologist Professor Kate Loewenthal.
A highlight of the Shabbaton was a Jewish Hip Hop concert on Saturday night with London based performer Menachem Weinstein and a student band led by Nottingham students Nathan Finkel and Joel Hamilton, and Rabbi Mendy Loewenthal, who is also director of Chabad at Imperial College.
Rabbi Eli Brackman, Chairman of Chabad on campus UK and director of Chabad of Oxford, said that “the third annual Shabbaton was a great success beyond expectations and will serve as a strong motivation for Jewish students to get more involved in Jewish life on campus.”
Bristol student Alex Benedyk said “it was an exciting weekend with excellent Jewish learning, fantastic people and I really hope to take what I learnt here into the future”.
Nottingham student, Joel Hamilton, who attended the Shabbaton for the second year running, commented “it was a great success, a wonderful place in Wales with nice countryside, and everyone had an amazing time; hope to see you next year!”
CAPA visiting American student, Ashley Steinberg, commented “The Shabbaton was great and the place was just so beautiful - I met a lot of great people, who I will keep in touch with for years to come”.
Imperial College student, Eli Moise, said “great thank you to everyone involved, I enjoyed it very much”.
Hythrop London student, Fishel Tietelbaum, commented that “it was an absolutely inspirational and enriching Jewish-identity weekend and has given me a very strong injection of Jewish identity and Jewish pride. It's been beyond what I could have anticipated; the setting has been absolutely beautiful, tranquilizing. Thank you very much! I shall definitely be back."
Turning to the quality of the lectures and discussions, Tietelbaum commented that “the Chabad on campus Shabbaton reminded me that traditional Judaism can compete on the highest academic standards, so thanks for that so much!”
Students attended the Shabbaton from the following universities: Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, London, Hythrop, Kingston, Imperial College, Royal Holloway, Goldsmiths, CAPA and more.
The weekend was made possible by grants from the Zalman Klynecharitable trust, March of the Living UK and Chabad on Campus International Foundation.
The Shabbaton followed a successful holiday of Purim for Chabad on campus UK hosting a record number of over 1,700 Jewish studentsfrom all backgrounds at themed Purim parties and celebrations during the joyous holiday.
Chabad on Campus UK serves the estimated 10,000 Jewish students in the UK through its 14 centres situated on every major university campus with a substantial Jewish student population, including Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, Bloomsbury, South London campuses, East End of London campuses, Imperial College and South Kensington and Bristol.
For more information about Chabad on Campus UK and upcoming events, visit www.chabadoncampus.org.uk