Over 150 Jewish teenagers aged 12-14 participated this last weekend in a vibrant and energetic Shabbaton seminar, marking the conclusion of EnerJew’s UPGRADE Bar / Bat Mitzvah Project. The Shabbaton took place in Moscow and celebrated the teenagers’ big day.
In 28 cities across Russia, Belarus, and Kazakstan, hundreds of Jewish teenagers participated, throughout the winter months, in the revolutionary UPGRADE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project specially created and developed by FSU Jewish youth movement, EnerJew.
They enjoyed studying and acquiring a deep knowledge of the basic elements of Jewish heritage, tradition, and history, in preparation for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and entry into adulthood.
The learning program was based on a unique interactive booklet that combines media and hands-on activities and includes materials for both the participants and the teachers and counselors running the program.
One hundred and fifty participants who excelled in their studies were invited to attend the final event that included a four-day seminar packed with experiences, social games, and study with charismatic young rabbis. The concluding ceremony was held on a luxury yacht and served as an amazing Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebration for all of the participants and, especially, for three teenagers who became Bar Mitzvah exactly during last weekend.
Every Bar Mitzvah boy who committed to put on Tefillin every weekday and to give a pair of Tefilin to someone else in need when he grows up, received the gift of a pair of high-grade Tefilin, while every Bat Mitzvah girl who committed to light Shabbat candles every Friday evening (before sunset) and to give candlesticks to someone else in need when she grows up, received the gift of beautiful candlesticks. These touching gifts were due to the great generosity and devotion of the Finger Family Foundation, ongoing partners in EnerJew’s activity.
The Tefilin sets and candlesticks, along with beautiful certificates, were presented to the participants by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar and Rabbi Bentzi Lipsker from the Meromim Foundation, who partner with Enerjew’s activity, together with EnerJew’s CEO Mr. Kostantin Shulman, EnerJew’s rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Rochlin and EnerJew’s regional executive director, Ms. Natella Epstein.
“The feedback we received from parents and participants was overwhelming,” says Rabbi Rochlin. “I received messages noting how special it was, and that the children returned from the Shabbaton full of hope and excitement. They said that they had never experienced anything like this before and that this seminar was one of the strongest experiences they ever had. This will undoubtedly, strengthen their commitment to Jewish life, community, and heritage, and will also encourage them to enroll in Jewish educational institutions later on in their lives.”