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European Jewish Youth Find Peace in Dublin
Last uploaded : Thursday 7th Jan 2010 at 20:04
Contributed by : Mushka Dubasava


400 young European Jews, ages 18-35, enjoyed an extended weekend in Dublin. The annual European Center for Jewish Students (ECJS) “Just One Shabbat” New Year’s event took place December 31, 2009 – January 3, 2010.

Thursday the program commenced with a Dublin City tour including major sights such as Merrion Square, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Temple Bar, Ha’Penny Bridge, National Gallery of Ireland and Dublinia. The Old Jameson Distillery demonstrated the manufacturing process of the Irish whisky to the group. An evening snow storm blanketed the city in white in time for the ACT New Year's Ball which featured the phenomenal Or LeIsrael band.

The next day the program included the famous Guinness Storehouse with explanations about the ingredients, brewing process and the history of Guinness advertisements. The glass-enclosed Gravity Bar provided an excellent view of Dublin while basking in sunshine, with protection from the frosty temperature.

After services Shabbat evening, Rabbi Meyer May, Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), led an informative talk called "Keeping Popes, Kings and Rulers in the Loop (and not forgetting the rest of us, too)." Rabbi May shared some of his experiences meeting heads of state and leading government officials around the world, as well as some of the most prominent corporate leaders and philanthropists of our time. The delicious Shabbat dinner was followed by an ECJS social dessert reception lasting into the early hours of the morning.

Shabbat day services were followed by an entertaining and enlightening talk, "Goodness, it's confusing: How do I know when it's right?", by Rabbi Yossi Ives of Richmond Synagogue in London who is a qualified life coach, specializing in relationship coaching. His talk offered some powerful dating advice. After a leisurely lunch, Rabbi Yossi Ives discussed impressive and surprising achievements of the State of Israel during the "Top of the Pile - Israel's Ranking in the World" interactive lecture.

The evening featured "Unlikely Heros" which is a Moriah film highlighting five extraordinary people whose unique and inspiring stories cast a new light on Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. During the gala dinner on Saturday night, the 26 represented countries were announced with much fanfare from participants, and Rabbi Zalman Lent of Dublin addressed the attendees. The program concluded on Sunday with a goodbye breakfast and visit to the Jewish Museum and Synagogue.

Rabbi Zevi Ives, English-born Executive Director of ECJS, said, “It was special to see 400 people together in Dublin which has a very small Jewish community. Every ECJS event feels like a family gathering. It’s such a satisfactory feeling to watch this family grow. Participants say ‘see you at the next event!’ instead of good-bye. The unique atmosphere at events can be attributed directly to the diverse group of Jews with completely different backgrounds that ECJS attracts.”

ECJS staff members received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the event.
In the words of Michael Gastwirth, a participant from Manchester, "It was an unbelievable weekend where I met so many new people, and the atmosphere created over the entire Shabbat was something to really treasure. I feel that these types of events organized by ECJS are an experience that everybody should encounter."

A participant from the Netherlands spoke from his heart. “I have found people who I can identify with on a level that transcends even that of my best friends which I have known for over 15 years. The first time I went to a Jewish event, I clearly remember being somewhat shocked by the sight of so many Jews. I grew up in a region without Jews and plenty of anti-Semitism and now to be surrounded by people that I did not know, yet felt such an inexplicable connection with, was an astounding experience. Without wanting to sound sentimental, to no longer feel alone is an incredible gift. I can only wish my beloved grandmother was here to see it. The work ECJS is doing is invaluable."

Myriam Levy from Paris said, "It was a very interesting weekend: meeting new people from everywhere and also providing the opportunity to ask questions and understanding more about ourselves through the lectures."

The event was organized by ECJS and cosponsored by iACT.

European Center for Jewish Students

Rue Froissart 113

Brussels 1040, Belgium

Tel.: +32-2-280-3765

Fax: +32-2-280-1435

Web: www.ecjs.org

E-Mail: info@ecjs.org


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