The Jewish Affinity Group gathers for a meeting on Sept. 14. Photo: Robert Kaufman

The Jewish Affinity Group anticipates its second annual Shabbat on Oct. 29. Led by Upper School English Teacher Robert Kaufman, Associate Director of MS/US Admissions Heather Bernes and newly joined by US Counselor Ellye Millaway, this year’s Shabbat is sure to deliver. Shabbat, also known as Sabbath, is a Jewish holiday that begins every Friday at sundown. 

Observed as a day of rest, the holiday is celebrated by spending time with family and friends, enjoying delicious foods and reciting blessings. These blessings include those over the candles, the bread and the wine. The main dishes served at Shabbat include brisket, salads, challah bread and matzah ball soup. 

On Oct. 29, each grade will gather at their respective houses to celebrate Shabbat. Every student will bring a different dish or recite a certain prayer during the meal. Mr. Kaufman was thrilled with last year’s results, having high expectations for this upcoming celebration. “It was a way to help the students engage with their Jewish identity,” said Mr. Kaufman. 

The annual Shabbats were started by Mr. Kaufman, in hope of bringing light to the joys of Judaism. Mr. Kaufman said, “To focus on the positives, I wanted to integrate Shabbat into the affinity group.” As a holiday centered around enjoying time with one another, it is no surprise that this tradition has quickly become a group favorite.

“Shabbat is always the best part of the year,” said junior Simon Gerber. “I love hanging out with my friends in the group outside of school and eating all the food!” The popularity surrounding this annual Shabbat has definitely helped the group grow its numbers. Having huge freshman turnouts at meetings gives the group much hope for their future events.

Besides Shabbat, the Jewish Affinity Group anticipates many other exciting activities. Partaking in a challah-making class last year, Mr. Kaufman said, “We can look forward to a traditional Jewish food cooking class this year.” On top of that, the group has volunteered at many Jewish organizations, such as planting daffodils at the William Breman Jewish Home. 

The Jewish Affinity Group sure does have a full plate this school year. Get excited to see updates and follow their progress all year long! 

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