Last night, 2,400 teens gathered together for the world’s largest Shabbat dinner. Teens from 27 countries united and sang Shabbat prayers and ate Shabbat dinner together. While being surrounded by my brother Alephs and sister BBGs, I felt truly embraced by my BBYO family. On a typical Friday night, I would be spending Shabbat with my family at home, and while sitting with all my BBYO friends from around the world, I was reminded of being back home: a dinner with the biggest family I have.
After Shabbat dinner, it was time for services. Eight services were offered, all sharing the focus of celebrating Shabbat with our community. The pluralistic services featured different themes and music, and everyone was able to find the right service for them. I attended “A Rockin’ and Rollin’ Shabbat” where we related rock music to different prayers, and sang a variety of prayer/song mashups. Seeing how modern music and prayer can come together really exposed me to how incredible BBYO is in presenting Shabbat in a modern and relatable context. There truly is something for everyone.
The rest of Friday night was filled with interesting Shabbat electives, and I was able to talk to teens about how they felt experiencing Shabbat at IC. “Experiencing Shabbat with thousands of teens of the same faith makes me feel blessed." explained Elly Coodin from Red River Region. "I’m so lucky to be a part of something as amazing as BBYO, and I’ll cherish this moment forever.” Deena Goldman from Gold Coast Region thought, “it’s incredible seeing the entire Order come together and celebrate Shabbat as one community.”
Saturday morning services, again, offered an amazing variety of ways to celebrate our day of rest. I was lucky enough to attend a service that focused on prayer through meditation, and got to experience praying in a way that connected me with myself and my brothers and sisters in the service. Following services, our day was filled with meaningful Limmud sessions that broadened our knowledge and allowed us to get in touch with ourselves.
Shabbat at International Convention is an experience like no other. It has a unique ability to showcase how many different ways there are for us to pray and get in touch with our connection to Judaism. The modern takes on a Jewish tradition allow teens to get in touch with how they would like to celebrate.
From all the AZAs and BBGs at IC: Shabbat Shalom.
Hailey Appel, Lake Ontario Region, IC 2016 Press Corps