European Jewish Association

Just One Shabbat, Rome

Rome, Italy

12/08/21 12:00 - 15/08/21 0:00

Our partners, ECJS (European Center for Jewish Students), had an amazing event taking place over a couple of days last week in Rome! We are delighted and proud to hear that this was a great success!
“We had participants join from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Greece, Italy , Spain, UK, Israel & the USA.
After 18 months of Covid restricting ECJS from making any events, ECJS was not the only one thrilled to host a large in-person event once again in Rome on 12-15 Aug, but the participants have never been so grateful to be able to attend an event once again. Everyone was so happy to finally have the opportunity to meet young Jews face to face. The simple joy of being able to socialize and meet new people was intoxicating.
With 150 participants from across Europe and even the US, the event was still at a smaller scale than usual and lots of changes had to be implemented. Such included, outdoor dining, 18 people per 50 seater busses, providing green passport details to hotel, guides, bus drivers, etc. These were only a few of the challenges ECJS faced putting the event together. But seeing the radiant faces of the attendees made all the extra effort worthwhile.
Participants appreciated every moment from day tours, outdoor night activities, workshops, to a beautiful Shabbat dinner that lasted till 3:00am culminating in a uplifting Havdallah ceremony with song and dance. Jewish Roman tour guides not only gave the participants a look into the fascinating history of Rome, but also presented the tumultuous Jewish history linked from the very rise of the Roman Empire. For example, the group visited the Colosseum which was built by Jewish slaves financed by the plunder and destruction of the Temple. They were introduced to the unique Roman Jewish culture, which predates Sefarad and Ashkenaz, so it belongs to neither group.
The lectures gave the participants food for thought, opportunities for debate and share ideas. The interactive, self-discovery workshop given by psychologist and therapist Mrs. Devorah Hurwitz augmented the content of the workshops and gave individuals a chance to take a deeper look at themselves and the participants around them. The shofar blowing was a fun experience and preparation for the coming high holidays.
Evening nights out for drinks under the stars, workshops, and delicious gourmet meals all provided ample opportunity to mingle and lots of new friendships formed. Though parting was hard for everyone, each person left with a network of friends stretching the width and breadth of Europe. It was a getaway celebrating Jewish friendship, identity and pride. The event had a perfect balance of Jewish tradition/education and fun atmosphere which brought everyone together.”
We hope that we can be joined by many others for delightful further events!