It was back to “essential Emet” these past two weekends for dedicated students in Emet Outreach’s women’s and men’s divisions. Shabbatons have always been at the core of Emet’s weekly programming, and after being limited by the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, they are once again in full swing. “Spending Shabbos together is an invaluable experience for our students as they grow in their religious observance,” said Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Co-founder and Director. “There is nothing that demonstrates the beauty of the Torah lifestyle like connecting with one another and with host families over Shabbos.”
Thirty students who are part of the Step-It-Up program in the Women’s Division spent an uplifting Shabbos together in Toms River, New Jersey. Emet rented a spacious home where the girls enjoyed all davening, meals, and activities.
“Our goal was to help the girls get closer with each other after the first three weeks of the semester,” said Ms. Adina Fendel, Emet Women’s Director. “Since it was right after Rosh Chodesh Kislev, our theme for the weekend was ‘Bringing Hashem’s Light into Dark Places.’ Throughout the weekend, we all shared stories and insights about how believing in Hashem has helped during difficult situations.”
One of the highlights over Shabbos was when a neighboring family came over and shared divrei Torah with the group, as well as an appreciation for what it is like to live in a more chasidish community. On Motza’ei Shabbos, the girls participated in a musical Havdalah and kumsitz. The evening ended on a fun and energized note with a Kangoo jumping dance activity.
“I really enjoyed the Shabbaton in Toms River. It felt like a family to spend a beautiful Shabbos together with the girls and mentors,” Ilana Aminova said. “It was so inspiring to get to know everyone on a different level and learn from one another. It was a true Shabbos kodesh with friendships that sparked and will last a lifetime!”
The following Shabbos, it was time for a getaway for the guys who learn in the Emet Olami Beit Midrash. A group of 18 students headed to the Monsey home of Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, renowned lecturer and founder of Shabbat.com. They were accompanied by Rabbi Yakov Musheyev, Emet’s Beit Midrash Coordinator and his family. The Klatzkos hosted davening in the shul located in their home, as well as all meals. It was especially fitting that davening was led by Asher Meirov, an Emet student who now learns in yeshivah full time. On Shabbos afternoon, the group was visited by Rabbi Binyamin Yuhanan, Emet Community Rabbi, who learns with them daily in the Beit Midrash.
“It was a Shabbos of inspiration for all of us who were privileged to spend it with the Klatzko family,” said Rabbi Musheyev. “Rabbi Klatzko spoke a lot over Shabbos about how each person has the power to make a difference in the community and how each of us should think big and dream big. The Emet students also shared personal examples of how Emet has changed their lives and inspired them to grow. Everyone made a l’chayim to one another and it was very uplifting.”
After a musical Havdalah, the group spent more time together before heading home. “It was an amazing and inspiring experience to spend Shabbos with my buddies from the Beit Midrash program and also with Emet friends whom I haven’t seen in a while,” said Yitzchak Matatov. “I definitely want to attend more Shabbatons like this. Thank you to Rabbi Musheyev and Rabbi Klatzko for making it so meaningful.”
A Shabbaton for students from Emet’s Leaders Fellowship will be up next in Passaic, New Jersey.
For further information about Emet programs, visit EmetOutreach.org. To experience Emet’s comprehensive video library of Torah lectures, visit www.EmetTorah.com.