Home Page

carol gould

Join our email list for updates.




We hope that you'll feel our website is worthy enough to contribute a few pounds to the bandwidth bills.



A safe and happy time for Jewish Students
Last uploaded : Saturday 31st Jul 2010 at 16:46
Contributed by : Mushka Dubasava


Over a late July weekend hundreds of students gathered in Madrid to celebrate Summer vacation. Please see the press release and pictures attached.

High resolution pictures of the event for publishing are available upon request.


Hundreds of Young European Jews Celebrate “Summer Is Here” in Madrid

Participants from 23 European countries arrived in Madrid early Friday morning for a retreat organized by ECJS, the European Center for Jewish Students. Chatting and milling filled the lobby: joyous greetings from reuniting friends, some deftly falling into conversation with strangers and others soaking in the scene wondering what the weekend held in store for them.

A walking tour of Madrid tourist attractions began with the Royal Palace and ended with wandering the square of Puerta Del Sol with newly-made friends.

ECJS was honored with the presence of Major General Elazar Stern. Listeners overflowed the seats and filled all available standing areas for the General’s talk. Stern addressed controversial issues and slanted media coverage, focusing on the anti-Israel sentiments that abound in Europe.

Shabbat was ushered in with the women lighting a table full of candles. The candles added physical and spiritual warmth to the hall. Kabbalat Shabbat and the traditional prayers welcoming Shabbat were lead by a volunteer Chazan from the group. The choir of voices and tunes were a medley combining Ashkenazi and Sefaradi tunes. The services provided an emotional start to Shabbat.

The hundreds of participants were joined by young locals who sat together in the main elegant hotel dining room enjoying a gourmet catered dinner. Providing kosher meals in Madrid for approximately 400 people over 4 days was no small feat.

Rabbi Dovid Katz from Hendon, London, acted as Rabbi in Residence during Shabbat. He addressed personal life challenges with “Reincarnation: Getting to the Soul of it All,” drawing on examples reincarnations of great people throughout Jewish history.

During a Shabbat afternoon stroll through Retiro Park, the group encountered the park’s pond, colonnade, rose garden, Crystal Palace, fountains, statues and monuments. The park was a perfect location to spend the hot afternoon in the shade of the trees, while chatting with friends.

Shabbat ended with unison singing of the Havdalah blessings. Two huge semi-circles formed around Rabbi Zevi Ives as he led the Havdalah ceremony. They swayed with linked arms and felt in perfect harmony with one another. Uplifted in song, all differences faded away. “Shavuah Tov” wishes of a good week were shared with one another.

Rabbi Ives, Executive Director of ECJS, connects with each of the participants on a personal level. Jacky Sneouar from Brussels told Ives, “Thank you so much for your hard work, your smile and your kindness. Since you arrived in Brussels you changed my life. “

Barry Mellinger, a young entrepreneur from Antwerp, told Ives at the conclusion of the retreat, “I was most impressed. I've followed ECJS from the very beginning and was often skeptical, but you have turned it into a real success story,” to which Giuseppe Calò from Milan responded, “Couldn't agree more on the current success story of ECJS.”

Casa Sefarad, an organization which promotes awareness of the rich Sephardic historical legacy, generously sponsored an exciting day trip to Toledo on Sunday. From a panoramic view from the top of a hill to the tiny streets of the city center, the group revisited the capital of the Golden Age of Spain. In the Sinagoga del Tránsito, professional guides took the group on an imaginary trip back in time to picture the functioning synagogue of the 1400’s.

In the evening, Rabbi Katz spoke about the annual treks he organizes to far and exotic places. These annual trips combine hiking and climbing the wild and beautiful mountains of places such as Nepal, India and Peru, with discussions in the seclusion of nature. He views the trips and challenges encountered as examples for life lessons and achievement beyond the norm. An incredible slide show from those trips offered visual aid proving his sentiments.

The final day of the retreat featured the Reina Sofia Museum with art pieces from Spanish geniuses such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Antonio Garcia. Surrealism and cubism of the museum presents a distinct and creative viewpoint.

Joseph Edery from Gibraltar, a regular participant at ECJS events, told Ives, “Like usual you and your team have given us what no other event does.”

The European Center for Jewish Students is a non-profit apolitical organization. To learn more about ECJS and the upcoming events please visit

http://www.ecjs.org .

or e-mail info@ecjs.org.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

European Center for Jewish Students


Read more Guest Opinions    go >>



Web Design - Web Designers
© current viewpoint .com

All Rights reserved.
No copying of any text or images allowed in any form digitally or otherwise,
without the prior written consent of the copyright holders.