> The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom
The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom



Recently, a number of our young Jewish adults, Suzanne Finlay, Aimi Sugarman, David Pedro and Fabian Knies experienced a weekend away in Derbyshire with a number of similar young Jewish adults from other communities across the country. The following article, first published in the MRJ newsletter on 4 April 2014, is Aimi's reflections on an innovative residential weekend which also involved Sarita Robinson as one of the organisers and facilitators. Enjoy.

As a 26 year old Reform Jew from a small city, I knew when I saw an advert from MRJ for a relaxing weekend retreat in Derbyshire countryside with other young Jewish adults who feel like the only people their age at Shul, this was for me! (as long as I could bring my high heels instead of the recommended sensible shoes!) I had been on Chagigah and Northern weekends before which took place in lovely hotels with a range of age groups. I thoroughly enjoyed them, but this weekend was aimed purely for those in their 20s, usually referred to as the "lost generation", from small communities outside London and was for us all to live, pray and learn together over Shabbat. I knew the idea of being with a group of unknown young Jewish adults in a cottage 24/7 for a whole weekend would be a little out of my comfort zone, but I had no idea how fun, uplifting, inspirational and life changing it would be.

The weekend was organised and facilitated by the wonderful Libby Burkeman and Sarita Robinson. We were welcomed by a few activities to get to know each other and then asked to share the item we brought which symbolised our Judaism. This was then swiftly followed by a joyful Shabbat service lead by Sarita in the massive open living room of a very large Cottage which just happened to be an old Baptist Church! We then made Kiddish and ate a Shabbat meal together. There were activities throughout the meal to keep the entertainment going. The weekend had already started to feel like I was sharing Shabbat with a lot of distant crazy cousins!

The following day the Shabbat service was brilliantly led by the wonderful David Pedro, Emily Carp and Zoe Claire who I can now say are not only my Facebook friends, but also life friends. We have already planned to meet up again at Chagigah if not before! They cleverly incorporate a traditional Shabbat service with some modern twists such as singing songs from the RSY Netzer song book! Libby and Sarita then brought in some thought provoking Shabbat activities which included themes of community in and outside of Judaism.

The day continued with different group activities and of course more food! If people looked in and were unsure which religious group we were, the sheer amount of food provided would certainly confirm it was a Jewish weekend. Some of the group then went for a Shabbat walk in the Derbyshire countryside (mine and Fabian's walk came to an abrupt halt at the nearest public house 100 metres away) and others had a Shabbat shluff. However we all came back together for a group Havdalah outside before enjoying a lovely home cooked dinner and a game of sardines/hide and seek which ended with lots of laughter, water fights and a frying pan! (You certainly had to be there!).

By Sunday morning we felt like one big dysfunctional family and the big sisters of the group, Sarita and Libby got us to take part in all sorts of interactive group activities. These were designed to make us feel close in our relationships with each other spiritually and physically! (Not great for those who enjoy their own personal space!)

By the time the weekend came to a close we were all taking away with us new formed friendships, ideas to connect with other young Jewish people from different communities, biblical lessons and ways to observe Shabbat, how to be involved in more workshops and incredible memories we will never forget! I recommend this to any young Jewish adult particularly if you're from a small community as these weekends make you see you're not alone.

The only question remains - when is the next young Jewish weekend and when can we sign up?


Ne've Shalom
Great Gutter Lane
HU10 6DP



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